Weekly editing tips

Once upon a time, there was a self-publishing podcast from which sprung the Facebook group The Smarter Artist. To create a platform where indie-writers could meet like-minded editors, a bunch of editors within this group of writers created the spin-off group The Smarter Artist Editors. Long story short, a dedicated few started a weekly thread sharing editing tips with the community, and we’re now ready to share these tips with the world.

Today, I’m sharing a tip from myself.

Good Friday, everyone!

Today, I want to share a very simple tip on condensing your writing by using possessives.

I already shared it last year with the Smarter Artist Editors community, when I was the interim editor at an institute for art and activism, and I had to clean up a source text while making sure it didn’t exceed a particular amount of words. Obviously, it did so I had to switch some things around to shorten it without changing its meaning. And that’s where my tip comes from: the text had quite a few possessives that could easily be altered to decrease word count, and improve the flow of the text while I was at it. To give a simple example from that text:

Original: This work in particular is critical in the genealogy of De Bruijne.

My ‘spin’: This work in particular is critical in De Bruijne’s genealogy.

Yes, it only saved me two words, but it looks much cleaner and the flow is much better. And there were more where this one came from 😉 It’s really such an easy thing to fix, and it makes for a better read instantly. Especially in long, descriptive sentences, which is where I catch this one most often.

I know this is a pretty straightforward tip, but I lost count of the many times I came across this since posting that original tip. Apparently, it bears repeating 😉 It could very well be one of those things you don’t look for if you’re not thinking about it, so go and think about it!

While you enjoy your weekend, of course 😉

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