Fixing Text That Doesn’t Work

The first task of writing may be creating an outline, getting your thoughts and ideas down on paper, or just diving into the actual writing. But at some point, it’s time to sit back and read what you’ve written, and like many writers, you find parts of your text that just ain’t right. What do you do?

Rewrite

But that isn’t always easy. And there may be a number of different ways to rewrite a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or section. But don’t use the same fix formula every time. There may be other options available.

For example, look at the verbs you used. What about the nouns? And you can change the length of a phrase or sentence. You also might explore changes of punctuation and grammar. And if you want to change the pace or the style, don’t use the same approach as your original.

Choices

Following are some options to explore:

  • Exchange the subject and object of a sentence.

From: John liked Jane.

To: Jane was someone John could like.

  • Merge or split sentences. The rhythm will be different, and so will the effect.

From: The bank robber ran out the door. He jumped into a car. The people in the bank were stunned. Then someone ran to a phone and called the police.

To: The bank robber ran out the door and jumped into a car. The people in the bank were stunned, until someone ran to a phone and called the police.

OR

From: The bank robber ran out the door and jumped into a car. The people in the bank were stunned, until someone ran to a phone and called the police.

To: The bank robber ran out the door. He jumped into a car. The people in the bank were stunned. Then someone ran to a phone and called the police.

  • Use a single strong verb in a phrase or sentence instead of using several verbs. Conversely, using several verbs could create a more impactful result.

From: The car spun out of control, flipped over, and tumbled down the slope.

To: The car gyrated down the slope.

OR

From: The car gyrated down the slope.

To: The car spun out of control, flipped over, and tumbled down the slope.

  • Use a more accurate or specific noun.

From: The boy played with his toys.

To: The toddler played with his toys.

  • Use repetition for a specific effect.

John never smoked marijuana. He really never did.

  • Eliminate unnecessary clichés.

From: She had an ace up her sleeve.

To: Jane had a singular hidden talent.

  • Use connecting words to improve flow (e.g., but, however, otherwise, so, since, still, when, where, yet). But don’t do this every other sentence.

John liked Jane. But he was afraid to ask her for a date.

  • Use an occasional sentence fragment. Or vice versa.

Although I thought I knew the answer.

OR

Although I thought I knew the answer, I was still skeptical.

  • Ask a question.

But would this test always yield the same result?

Conclusion

There are certainly more ways to rewrite text to improve the flow and/or impact. Try something you’ve never done before. Maybe combine some of the above suggestions in order to improve interest as you restructure sections of your text. Experiment.

Copyright 2019 by Affordable Editing Services

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