Editing is caring! Ever heard that expression before? No? That’s because I made it up to help teach the grade four kids in my editing workshop last week! This was a follow-up workshop to help them edit their Dreamtime stories.
I explained how it is ok to have a messy first draft, because you are trying to think about your main character, and what he or she wants and what obstacles are in their way and what will happen in the end. So much to think about! So much to hold in your mind!
But it is not ok to have a messy final draft. If you have a messy final draft, it shows your readers that you don’t care enough about your writing. And if you don’t care about your writing, why should your readers bother to read it? (And this goes for adult writers as well!) So editing is definitely caring.
We talked about adding some interesting elements to your story to make it more interesting – metaphors, similes and alliteration. We discussed checking that spelling and punctuation were correct, and played a little game to help understand the punctuation for dialogue.
I gave them all a copy of my editing checklist to help tick things off. You can download and print it here.
There were many inspiring and inspired writers in these classes. But even if none of these kids become writers, they will still need to communicate – personally and professionally. They will need to write resumes, apply for grants, give a speech at their best friend’s 21st, write a eulogy, introduce a guest speaker, convince the love of their life that they should be together forever, put together their website content, write a succinct argument in 140 characters (or whatever social media replaces Twitter), write a letter to a large organisation outlining their reasons for demanding money back ….
And that is why we all need to write with clarity, edit with logic and communicate with passion.