Samantha Kent, Senior Editor at Allen and Unwin, suggests
FIVE WAYS to edit your writing more effectively
Editing Tips

1. Turn off the moving pictures

Are you visual? And do you find that your experiences are recorded in your memory like movies? When writing about your experiences, it's easy to put down in words the script that accompanies those movies. But it's important to stop playing the movie in your head and focus on the words, because those words have to stand on their own merit in isolation. I've edited for more than a few writers who don't quite mean what they say or say what they mean, and I imagine that's because they're supplementing their words with pictures.

So turn the movie off and make your words convey those pictures all on their own, because your reader only has your words to go by.

2. Every word must pay its way

Good writing is an art for some while for others it's a craft. And crafting means going back over and over and re-assessing and re-shaping your work, adding a bit here, cutting a bit there. Part of that assessment process should involve weighing up each and every word and making sure it's paying its way. In good writing there's no room for stowaways, freeloaders or hitchhikers.

Of course there are many different styles of writing and personal preference also comes into play, but if you can justify the presence of each and every word, then that in itself shows that you have crafted your writing, and not just written it.

3. Phone a friend

Not many people bother to read the Acknowledgements section of a book, and it often doesn't make for interesting reading. But acknowledgements reveal that most books aren't the product of one person writing in isolation. As hard as it may be to offer up your work to the judgement of others, it can be a valuable exercise. You may not act on all the adviceóand some of it may not even be goodóbut keeping an open mind and being prepared to consider suggestions can only be a good thing.

Even if all you do is reject the advice, at the very least the act of rejecting itself means you have considered your writing in another light and are able to defend your own convictions.

4. Get some distance

I don't know about you but I can be a bit moody. Sometimes Iím verbose; other times I just want to cut to the chase. I can write something I'm pleased with one day and by the next day the shine has worn off. That's when you need to set your writing by for a while and take a break. Come back to it after some time has passed and use that distance to approach your writing from a fresh perspective.

If your writing can withstand the test of time and your changing moods, the greater its chances of having broad appeal.

5. Do your homework

When writing non-fiction especially, but fiction as well, itís important to get your facts right. If you get wrong little details you may not think important, you can easily lose your readerís trust that you are worth their time and effort.

Sure, maybe some people are happy to suspend disbelief, but for others, the spell that keeps people feeling like thereís a good reason to read on may be broken.