Guidelines for Writers:
For anyone who aspires to be a writer, here are a few writing and editing tips. I offer them while remembering the pain of having my precious words edited for the first time. So I memorialized the moment by writing a poem to honor the editor. Although her name is Ruth Ann, I thought she was ruthless and so named the poem.
Ruthless Ann wields one mean axe
To give my writing forty whacks.
She slashes passive verbs right through;
And, even "that," she cuts in two.
But, when she's done if I take heed
And patch the wounded words that bleed.
I'll submit much stronger prose,
Because she ripped it head to toes.
I considered the adage, "A word to the wise is sufficient," swallowed my pride and re-wrote the piece according to her suggestions. Now it's time to pass along those same tips. To help you avoid the pain of your first editing experience, I've listed a few tips to help you write well from the get go. When you've finished your piece, edit it by using the same steps and asking yourself if you accomplished each step. Then read it out loud to see if it flows. If it doesn't roll off your tongue, rework it. Use the same method when asked to critique or edit someone else's work.
And please, be kind. Say something nice before you suggest corrections. But beware! You're likely to hear, "You just edited the life out of it!"
Linda Hultin Winn
The P.I.E.R. Method
1. Use The P.I.E.R. Method recommended by CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors and Speakers Seminars).
Point: What’s the point of your devotional, article or chapter?
Instruction: What’s the lesson to be learned? The take-away? The reader benefit?
Example: What’s an example or anecdote that illustrates your point?
Reference: What is your reference or authority?
2. Every article should have a beginning, middle and end. The end should point back to the beginning.
3. Use active verbs rather than passive. Replace "is" and "was."
4. Show. Don’t tell.
5. Write short sentences, up to 12-14 words max, in a 250-500 word piece.
6. Avoid rabbit trails. Stick to your point.
7. Use spell check or a dictionary (preferably a dictionary).
8. Keep writing. Your style, content and voice will emerge as you continue to write.