Top Five Self-Editing Tips for Authors

Today I'd like to share my top five self-editing tips. Although some of these pertain more to fiction writers, several are relevant in all written works.

1) Passive Voice
This construct has its place and uses, but you should avoid employing it too often as active language will give your prose more punch.

2) Repetition
Keep watch for a lack of variety in your prose. If you use the same word on a regular basis, particularly within a single paragraph, consider changing a few out with synonyms.

3) Filler Words
You can utilise the Find function in Word to locate filler words such as really, very and just. Then remove them in every instance where the sentence makes sense without them. Often changing the proceeding word will also help. E.g. If you've written very scared, amend to terrified.

4) Dialogue Tags
Remove dialogue tags wherever they aren’t needed to know who’s speaking. This way you can avoid a string of he said, she said.

5) Consistency
Check your manuscript for consistency in spelling, grammar, formatting and descriptions (e.g. a character should not have blond hair on one page and brown on the next).