The Importance of Editing



The other day when our writer’s group met, we started off with a writing prompt. No surprise there. And after taking most of December off from writing and being sick, it had been a while since I’d written anything except my name on a debit slip for Christmas gifts.

When we are finished with our prompts, we jokingly argue over who is going to read first to get it over with. I find this amusing, because we all think whatever we wrote in this short time span is awful and not worth reading. The pieces we come up with are always interesting and actually pretty good.

But this time, when I read mine aloud, I had the following sentence in my story:

The boy had red hair and freckles across his nose.

In my mind, the boy had red hair on his head and freckles on his nose. But when you hear it aloud, you hear he had red hair as well as freckles on his nose. It makes for a funny image in your mind. Thus, the importance of editing. And reading aloud.

So, I could change the funny sentence to: The boy’s hair was red, and he had freckles across his nose. Or: The boy had red hair, with a smatter of freckles on his nose. You get the idea.

Sometimes these sentences sneak up on us and we miss them. We might make editors laugh unintentionally, but if we have too many humorous sentences like this, we may not get the assignment.

During our meetings, we don’t edit our prompts, before reading them aloud, but if I were to use this piece in another longer story, I would definitely have to rewrite that sentence. Can’t have little boys running around with red hair and freckles on their noses!

Have you come across funny goof ups like this in your writing? We’d love to hear them. In the meantime, don’t forget to edit your writing.

Here’s to a New Year of productive and not-so-funny writing!



3 thoughts on “The Importance of Editing

  1. I would love to write a funny novel on purpose. Sometimes, like last week, I read a hilarious romantic comedy and it was so good I didn’t want it to end. Good piece. Keep it going.


  2. Do you mean he didn’t really have red hair across his nose? Durn, I had such a vivid picture in my mind! Love writing those prompts. 😉 Thanks, MIchelle, for a great reminder to watch carefully as I begin to edit my book.

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