Thursday, September 26, 2013

Correct It Or Eject It

If you have written something and it's just not quite right, you really only have two viable options. The first is to correct it. Find a way to revise what you have so that you may keep the idea, and even some of the wording, but to make it more effective. The second option is to eject it. Simply cut out the parts that don't work. Sometimes a passage is stronger without a bad sentence.

Too many people struggle with the correcting part. They may be able to identify problem spots, but don't know how to fix it. When authors/editors get stuck like that, they often end up convincing themselves that the passage is good enough. They find ways to justify and rationalize it, and they leave it be. But the real reason they leave it be is that they don't know how to fix it.

If you have a passage that doesn't work, it isn't good enough. If it drew enough of a flag that an editor wanted to correct it, then it's not correct as it stands. Never accept something as being good enough, especially when you know it isn't. Editing is not always easy, even to those for whom it comes naturally. But if you are going to edit, then edit well.

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