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Cut jargon, slang, unusual, or long words unless they are essential to your point. Reading age of popular media (years)The Sun tabloid newspaper 7-9Harry Potter 12-13Improve readability by splitting long sentences and making paragraphs shorter.The has both free and paid versions, which allow you to check for readability, adverbs, passive voice and more.
Academic and business writing ruins us as creative writers.
Business writing often combines overuse of passive voice with jargon. There are exceptions where we choose passive voice for a distancing effect.
Here’s an example: She to stand her ground this time, she turned to face her attacker. (43 words)The new shorter version is more vivid and immediate.
(54 words)Compare to: She ran from her attacker and ducked into an alley. It’s rated Grade 2 on the Hemingway app, so an average seven year old should be able to read it.
At the very least, save to a USB stick (thumb drive.)Save each version and number the file names v1, v2, etc., especially for a longer work.
This allows you to turn back time if you need to reference an earlier draft.If you overwrite, using past simple is one way to cut words without losing the sense of your text. A hanging participle could be a sentence that starts with an –ing word.If you underwrite, better verb choice and more description can flesh it out. If you start a sentence with an -ing word, ensure the noun that follows belongs to the verb at the beginning. Instead: Karen is now six months old and doctors say she has fully recovered.Average reading age is 11-12 years in the UK and 12 years in the US.People prefer to read for recreation at least 2 years lower than their educational level.Her heartbeat kept pace with the footsteps racing ever closer. There’s much more to this subject than this article can cover.There are many other useful resources to choose from.This self-editing checklist covers the basics of self-editing so you can get your work looking its best. Don’t tempt readers to click away or put your book down because of careless mistakes in grammar or construction.Writing and editing are different skills with different mindsets.Concentrating on one aspect of editing each time leads to better results.Back up regularly to an external hard drive and/or the cloud.