1. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Improving my editing skills

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by A.L.Mitchell, Mar 9, 2012.

    Hello everyone, I am currently stuck on making my grammer and editing better. I know writers improve by writing but it does take skills. But the thing is, I still seeing choppy sentences in my work, even through when I was editing. I need someone to put me in the right direction.

    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find Eats Shoots And Leaves by Lynne Truss a great help.

    And read, read, read.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Try reading your work aloud. And I mean read it word by word, exactly what's on the page. Don't sort of glide over it and read what you think you wrote. For example, in your original post in this thread, you wrote "it take skills", "I still seeing", and "even through when I was editing." Read every word you've written aloud, and your ears will tell you what needs fixing.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    compare any 3 pages of your work to any three in works of a similar genre by 6 different, well-respected writers... that should help you pinpoint where you need to change/improve your writing...
     
  5. mootz
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    mootz Member

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    I went on a reading frenzy, a book a week, for a few months. Changed me quite a bit. Might work for you.
     
  6. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I love the advice given so far so do what they say but one thought I had when you described you sentences as short and choppy is the writing style of a friend of mine. Her sentence tend to be short and choppy. It makes for a fast paced read. So short and choppy isn't all bad. Although she uses feedback from other writer to help smooth out her sentences but in the end her style is just short and choppy. It works for her.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest I don't find reading others works any great help in improving my own. I tend to get lost in the stories and don't care.

    I bought several modern grammar books, and downloaded some free, very old fashioned ones for my Kindle. I put aside a week every few months to read them and nothing else. Personally, I found that a lot more useful in starting to develop my own style.
     
  8. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I find that when my stuff feels choppy, the problem is usually that I'm not varying my sentence structure enough. Every sentence is simple, short, and often starts with the same word. It takes some effort to find the right balance of sentence lengths, but you want a healthy mix of different types of sentences. So if you have two short, similar sentences in a row, try combining or structuring one sentence a little differently. For instance: "He picked up the book. He put it down ten minutes later" could become "He picked up the book, but put it down only ten minutes later." Alternatively, it could be: "He picked up the book. Ten minutes later, he put it down."

    As someone else says, though, choppy isn't always a bad thing. Some professional authors make the style work. Hemingway, after all, was very choppy. He had a passage written like this: "I want it so much. I don't know why I want it. I want that poor kitty. It's no fun to be a cat in the rain." Or something to that effect. It's so choppy, it's singsong, and oddly, that happens to work for Hemingway. So if you prefer choppy sentences, it's good to play to your strengths.
     
  9. DaVinci
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    DaVinci Banned

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    Seems like good flow to me(At least in what you wrote), the thing that jumps out at me is how you spelled grammer(*Grammar*).
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hemingway wouldn't maintain that choppiness all the time. He was keenly aware of how his sentences fit together and would vary the lengths and structures of his sentences a great deal. He's known for his "simple, declarative" style, but if you actually examine his work, he wasn't all about short, choppy sentences. Many of his sentences are very long. When he got short and choppy, it was for an effect he wanted.
     
  11. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    Thank you for all the advice you have given me. I will now use the advice.
     

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