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Polishing Your Work

January 31st, 2013

You’ve just finished a piece of creative writing, what do you do with it now? Do you pop it in an email and send it off straight away? Or do you put it to one side for at least a couple of days and then come back to it and read it again? If you answered yes to the second statement, very well done! That’s exactly what you should be doing.

Polishing your work is a very important part of the creative writing process. And if you think about why you would polish your shoes before an important meeting, it’s the same with your writing – you want it to impress whoever reads it!

So, when you’ve completed your creative writing, put it one side for a couple of days. You really need to do this as your brain is a weird piece of equipment – it inserts words where it thinks they should be and misses errors on a regular basis. Believe me, I know. I’ve often written something, read through it thinking it’s wonderful and error free, then come back to it a day or two later only to find really glaring errors. But polishing your work is not just about correcting spelling or missing word errors, it’s about making sure your work flows well, is logical and grammatically correct too.

There are a number of ways you can polish your work. You can:

• read it aloud to yourself – this is a great way to see how well your writing flows. Any awkward parts, breaks in the flow or punctuation flaws will show up immediately. It’s a good idea to read through the whole manuscript without making any notes or changing anything at first. Then, when you’ve finished, make a note of what you think of the piece. Keep the following questions in mind:

o Did it flow in a logical way from one point to the next?
o Does it have a introduction, main body and an ending?
o Is the style and content appropriate to the publication you are aiming to send it to?
o Does the layout look neat and tidy on the page?

• read it to other people or let other people read it themselves – they’ll be able to help point out errors or illogical thinking

• develop a list of trouble spots – by this I mean if you know that you often spell a word incorrectly or you have issues with commas, make a note and be extra vigilant for the items on the list

Okay, once you’ve done all this you should have a nicely polished piece. Of course, some errors might still creep in, but that’s normal and spotting these is what proofreaders and editors are for. As long as you’ve done all you can to make sure your writing is as error free as possible, that’s all anyone can ask for.

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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