Thursday, July 3, 2014

Four Tips to Immediately Improve Your Writing

Fresh Eyes Proofing . Every Author needs fresh eyes

The Gift of Grammar:
Four Tips to Immediately Improve YOUR Writing
from Fresh Eyes Proofing

by Sandy Penny, Fresh Eyes Proofing

For you authors who want to make sure your manuscript is clean and public ready, I've chosen a few tips to help you as you write. Just these few changes will greatly improve your book's readability and impact on your readers.

1. Write in present tense as much as possible. 

It keeps the reader immersed in the action. Past tense turns your reader into a spectator instead of a participant. It distances them from the action.

Present Tense Example: Jane slowly walks toward the door. It pops open as her hand touches the doorknob.
Past Tense Example: Jane slowly walked toward the door, and it popped open as her hand touched the doorknob.

Which one makes you feel the tension and experience the surprise with the character?

2. Write in active voice as much as possible. 

If you use lots of "ing" words, you're not in active voice. You are in passive voice. Active voice directs and moves the emotions and action for the reader.

Active Voice Example: Live your best life now. Create a dynamic successful future.

Passive Voice Example: Living your best life now allows you to create a dynamic successful future.

The more you use active voice, the more your reader responds to your words and wants to know more. Passive voice makes your reader question what you say.

3. Know when to break sentences.

Long, run-on sentences tend to make the reader lose interest in what you are saying, and stop paying attention to your words, and maybe even put the book down. (See what I mean?)

Short sentences inform the reader and stop. That gives the reader time to process each idea. It also creates a desire to hear more. You want to write "unputdownable" books (a concept/word coined by Mike Wells, a master of the psychological thriller cliffhanger).

4. Global search your document for the word "that." Ask yourself if you need it.


This was the final interview for the “cook and housekeeper” position that he had advertised. (You don't need that.)

She supposed that it hadn’t been in the cards for her...but now? (You don't need that.)

His confidence and inner strength emanated from him in waves that were almost palpable.
Needs a rewrite: His confidence and inner strength emanate from him in almost palpable waves. 

He could see that blood was swirling out from his head.  
He could see blood swirling from his head.

There are many other tips and tricks proofreaders notice to help improve your writing without changing your style or personal voice. 

I hope these are helpful for you. Thanks for reading.

"If it needs to persuade, inspire, create curiosity or ignite action, 
every word is important." ~ Sandy Penny

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Every Author needs Fresh Eyes. If you have a novel that needs final proofing, click the pic.
Link to Fresh Eyes Proofing by Sandy Penny