Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing and Editing

            “No writer is entirely without sin…” Stephen King states here, in a profound way, that every writer makes mistakes. The sin of the writer is always as black as the ink he writes with, and there is no writer that is without it. It is that black sin as well as that black ink that defines writers. Both ink and sin must be poured and splayed onto the paper to achieve better writing skills.
            When focusing on writing, it is critical to focus most on the subject. You MUST have a goal. For example, if someone is writing about the Kalam Cosmological Theory and its base links on temporal relations, then say so. Even if the subject is complicated the subject does not have to be, and it can be understood by anyone even if they do not know what the subject it pertains to.
            Once the subject is identified everything must correlate to it. The subject is god and everything else is simply a creation of it. If there is something in the paper that is not created by the subject, then there is another god, and the monotheistic quality of the paper is lost. That is simply heresy. The paper should be uniform, concise, and religiously devout to the subject. 
            If one must formulate their own subject, they must create it carefully. It is not only the spoken word that can be misinterpreted. One can write a research paper with the subject “People are wicked” and give the most irrefutably true contentions. However, not all people are wicked. The subject itself is flawed, and therefore the entire work is flawed. The subject should have stated capability as opposed to existence by saying “People can be wicked”. A slight word change such as that can save an entire work from becoming irrelevant.
            The organization of the paper helps keep the focus of the reader. If the information must be reread to understand a new concept introduced, the reader will become agitated. Just because someone wrote something does not mean everyone should read it. The reader is trusting the work to be good because they are investing their valuable time in it by reading the material. The author owes it to the reader not to waste it, because the author works for the reader- not the other way around.
            The organization and presentation of the material is dependent on the purpose. If the paper must be organized by chronological order, such as how to do something, then that will always take priority. However, if there is no chronological order, then one must organize the paper by hierarchy or importance. This paper is ordered by title, main points, sub points, and conclusion.    
            The collection of main points is critical. Every point must be necessary to get the overall message across. If there is something missing or if the main contention is not the strongest it can possibly be, then the paper is weak. To create a great work, every point must leave no doubt as to its necessity.
            The organization of sentences must be ideal, and this is the most complicated of all organizational skills. Any sentence can be grammatically correct and still not feel right. If the flow is bumpy, then all of that structure, organization, and careful planning will be for naught. This asset is part intuition and part skill. The most helpful thing to do is to take a break. A lapse in time enables you to come back to your work with a more objective eye. Then, read it aloud and see if it sounds like honey dripping. If it does, the writer has done well!
            Selecting the format for a paper is the most covert writing skill of all. For example, the reason tabloids and newspapers have narrow columns that happen across two or so meager rows of the page is because they want the reader’s attention. Quickly finishing a line every second or two and finishing the article in less than a minute surmises a sense of accomplishment and silently strokes the reader’s ego.
            With that being said, the purpose of the subject and the application of it is important in identifying the format of a paper. If the text is going to go in a newspaper or tabloid, choose the format previously mentioned. If it is going to be submitted as a college work, use APA format (or as directed by the instructor). Selecting proper format can assist students’ grades or attract readers.
            When formatting, it is also important to know who the audience is. In college, APA format is used in research papers because it is a formal format and can be viewed as a pedigree. Books have multiple formats. If the audience is young adults, the font is typically bigger and less words per page. Typically, quotations are stand-alone paragraphs. If the audience is adult, the words are more per page, smaller font, and the quotes are incorporated in the paragraphs.
            It is also critical to know what the purpose is of what is to be written. There are many purposes that a paper can hold such as informational, humorous, poetic, etc. There are many styles to each purpose of writing. In college, the most common purpose for writing is informational, which is to include research papers. For each purpose, there are multiple formats to select. Although many college papers are APA format, not all of them may be. The most appropriate format must be selected in order to deliver a truly perfect coup de grâce.
            Without any shadow of uncertainty, editing a paper is a screamingly important stage of writing. Editing is the saving grace of all writers. It does not matter the mistakes made before, because everything can be redeemed by this process. To be perfectly honest, most of the rough draft looks nothing like the final draft. At least, that is true if the author’s skills are superb.
            The creative stage is the editing stage- not the rough draft. The editing stage is where an author can reread their work, find new pathways with better views, and still get to the same destination. That is exploration; that is creativity. The ways that are least obvious are often the most beautiful, and whomever the author may be, it is their dutiful obligation to show the reader to it. Do not lure the reader down a road of mud when there is a flowing river nearby they can walk along. The author’s writing shoes will be cleaner for the good of it all, too.
            Every word in a paper is meant to count. If one was to take out a single word from a sentence and the sentence still be complete, then that word must go. Every sentence, every syllable, and every letter must be absolutely necessary and advance information continuously to the reader without repetition. If the author attempts to annihilate every word he created and reduce his work to a blank page once more, then he successfully wrote and edited his work.
            The skill of editing is a tough one to learn. To edit, one must first ensure everything before this paragraph in this paper is complied with. Once that is completed, edit paragraphs by properly separating new ideas and keeping same ideas together, edit sentences by creating smooth flow and proper structure, and edit each individual word by spelling and necessity.

            While these are not the only skills in writing, each one of them has multiple approaches and strategies to them. If the reader of this paper remembers nothing else, remember that editing is, debatably, the most important strategy to writing. “To write is human, to edit is divine.” 


  1. Editing is divine! I always feel so much relief when the first draft is done and I know I can dive back in and start making it half-way decent. =)