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Be a Stronger Writer with Better Revision

Improve your writing dramatically with these easy-to-implement revision strategies from award-winning journalist and author Margot Carmichael Lester of The Word Factory.

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Be a Stronger Writer with Better Revision

  1. 1. with Margot Carmichael Lester © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com Strategies to Improve Your Writing
  2. 2. Revision Look at it again and make it better. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  3. 3. The Truth We all want to be better writers, but what we really need to be is better revisers. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  4. 4. Revision Is the Key to More Effective Writing • We all over-write • Our ideas can always be clearer & details richer • We can tune our voice • Our logic can be stronger • We can use better words & fix errors© 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  5. 5. Revisions v. Edits Edits focus expressly on spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar (SPUG) and formatting — and are done *only* after revisions are complete. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  6. 6. • Revise our own work • Provide *actionable* feedback that everyone understands and uses • Help us become better writers and editors. We need a process to: © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  7. 7. 3 Big Questions© © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com 1. What makes this writing good? 2. What would make it better? 3. What’s missing?
  8. 8. • Answer these about your own writing and when reviewing someone else’s. • Use them to identify how to spend your revision energy. • Make them a part of your work flow. 3 Big Questions© © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  9. 9. The answers to these questions create actionable revisions that fall into two categories: 1. Big Revisions 2. Small Revisions 3 Big Questions© © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  10. 10. Big Revisions Do these first because they fix conceptual elements that have a huge impact on our content. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  11. 11. 1. Purpose: Is it clear what the audience should think, feel and/do after reading? 2. Main Idea: Can you easily identify the most important idea? Big Revisions © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  12. 12. 3. Key Details: Is there sufficient supporting information? Think about what addresses people’s questions or objections and your goal. Big Revisions © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  13. 13. Big Revisions 4.Voice: Does it sound appropriate for the topic and audience? Tightly define your reader and jot down the characteristics of the kind of person they trust. Then write in a voice that reflects those traits. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  14. 14. Big Revisions 5. Organization: Do the ideas follow a logical path to a clear conclusion? Beginning: Is the start enticing, engaging and relevant? Ending: Do you end with a clear sense of what's important and why to care? © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  15. 15. Small Revisions These more technical changes are made after the Big Revisions to improve readability, style and engagement. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  16. 16. 6.Concision & Clarity: Are there any unnecessary words and phrases? Are the concepts clear? 7. Heads & Subheads: Are there sufficient guideposts to drive logic and support skimming and scanning? Small Revisions © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  17. 17. Small Revisions 8. Sentence Fluency: Does copy flow with different sentence structures and lengths? How does it sound when read out loud? Strike qualifiers and superfluous modifiers, and combine or divide sentences to improve clarity and rhythm.© 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  18. 18. Small Revisions 9.Word Choice: Are words precise and appropriate for audience & topic? Replace weak verbs with ones that convey an action *and* how it's performed to increase clarity and concision. Example: Replace "walked quickly” with “dashed"© 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  19. 19. 10.Word Count & Formatting: Do you need to add or cut to reach length requirements? Does the format make the content easy to consume on various media and screen sizes? Small Revisions © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  20. 20. Operationalize It! © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  21. 21. The Process 1. Draft fast. 2. Make Big Revisions on your own work. 3. Check it off with someone. 4. Do Small Revisions on your own work. 5. Check it off with someone. 6. Edit and proof your own work. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  22. 22. Pressed for time? 2. Read aloud to find typos and SPUG errors. © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com This 2-step process has more impact than you think: 1. Cut 25% of the words.
  23. 23. Questions? Observations? © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  24. 24. with Margot Carmichael Lester Twitter: @word_factory Blog: thewordfactory.com/our-blog Instagram: @margotlester Thanks for attending 10 Strategies to Improve Your Writing © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  25. 25. Content Creation, Editing, Coaching & Training © 2020 by The Word Factory, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com

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