Monthly Archives: November 2010

P-P-P-Published pieces

These last three months have flown by.

The much-anticipated Professional Writing has returned for a second year, and I’m finding it as fun as the last (but don’t tell anyone). The enthusiasm from my class has prompted more pitches, and a brand new blog. A niche, a flight of fancy, an indulgence; call it what you will, but do take a look:

I’ll be posting news and info up as much as possible, so don’t get rid of your internet connection, will you?

Isn’t technology wonderful? Mmmm, but who can beat a good ol’ magazine? So why not pick up Real Travel magazine this month (issue 57; dated December 2010) to see an article I wrote in the Summer? The piece is ‘Have you ever… had a failed plane landing?’ and can be found on page 22. Go on; take a look!

In September, I went to the opening night of The Armstrong and Miller Show Tour – my favourite double act – and loved every second. Well… almost every second; I sank into my chair when the two picked on the audience. The pair still deserved the massive applause (and then some) so I swiftly knocked out some reviews, which can be found here:

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

And here:

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

Armstrong and Miller Bristol247 review

And you think that’s it, don’t you? I can tell by the look in your eye. Well, you’d be wrong, my friend. On Monday (22nd November), my absolute favourite comedian, Lee Mack, returns to Bristol, this time to the Colston Hall. And guess who’ll be there…

I went to see Messer Mack in February and begged for an action replay. He (happily, I assume) obliged. So here we come. And what, you may ask, has this got anything to do with p-p-p-published pieces? Well…

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

Lee Mack: Going Out Mercury preview

I know I’m gonna love his show – and accompanying DVD – and can’t wait ‘til Not Going Out returns. Now if I could just get to work for his PR team and slowly rise through the ranks…

In other news:

  • Kudos to the brilliant Karl Pilkington, who has – and will continue to – entertain me with An Idiot Abroad, and his exceptional books. Long will I remain a fan.
  • I’m obviously looking forward to the next Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol, which looks to be just mind-blowing. The Sarah Jane Adventures have fed my obsession, with some fantastic storylines and acting, as have Classic Who DVDs and a convention that came to Weston. I met Sarah Sutton and saw Wendy Padbury again; really lovely people, who I’d love to interview someday (if you’re reading this…?).
  • But not all is well. I’ve just seen a Dolmio advert that rips off the “intruder window” joke from Doctor Who and has taken all of the credit. Feel free to form a protest. I’m trying, y’know.

Well, that’s all for now, but come back soon, won’t you…?

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 20, 2010 in Published work, Unpublished work


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ten Tips for Editing Text

Whether you need to adhere to a word count, or just want to sharpen your piece, here are ten tips for editing.

1.       Cutting.

I know it hurts, but that bit you’re looking at? The paragraph you love? Well, it doesn’t really fit, does it? Sure, it’s good. But far from perfect.

To create an effective piece of text, you must, as William Faulkner put it, “kill your darlings.” However much you may love it, if it doesn’t fit, then it must go. Don’t be afraid: if you don’t cut it, somebody else will.

2.       Read it aloud.

The only way to find out if it sounds right is… well, if you read it out. It’s okay, you don’t have to make a speech to hundreds of people. Just read it to yourself. You’ll know which bits sound clumpy, or awkward. You’ll know which bits sound great (“Mental note: never, ever delete that bit”). Cut as appropriate. Remember not to be too critical though!

3.       Avoid repetition.

You’ll normally find repetition when reading the text aloud. Unless it’s for a particular purpose, try to get rid of it; replace it, or re-arrange the sentences.

4.       Think about your audience.

What is the purpose of your text? Is it to inform, entertain, or persuade? Read your text through. What will your audience think and feel? Will they be informed, entertained or persuaded? What will keep their interest and what will they skip over?

5.       Get someone else to read it.

Sometimes you’ll miss something. A tiny little error – a misplaced colon, perhaps – or something a bit bigger – “What does that mean?” Your critical eye might be blind to something, so why not test it on a member of your audience? Someone you trust will critique your work sensitively, while also pointing out flaws, is invaluable.

6.       Use the active voice.

Typically, it’s best to use the active voice. That means the subject is doing something to the object. For example:

Active: The cat chased a mouse.

Passive: A mouse was chased by the cat.

Very similar, but there is a difference, I promise. We do this naturally, but occasionally a bit of the passive voice can sneak in. The active voice tends to be more concise, and easier to read, so it’s in your best interests to check each sentence. However tedious.

7.       Keep tenses the same.

Past, present, future; clearly all very different. But in a text, we can easily flit between them, particularly the former two. Sometimes it’s really hard to find these little mistakes, but try reading it out to yourself, or ask someone else to read it. It may seem like an amateur mistake, but everyone does it.

8.       Check spelling and grammar.

A great tip I’ve recently picked up is to read a sentence backwards. You won’t focus on the actual sentence; instead you’ll see the words themselves, and pick up anything that doesn’t adhere to the rule, “’i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’”… unless of course, if it’s the exception that proves the rule. After reading it backwards (surprisingly tough), it’ll be such a relief to read it normally again, and pick up on any grammatical errors.

9.       Avoid repetition.

Sorry. It’s a cheap joke.

10.   Come back to it tomorrow.

The most important tip? Don’t try to edit the text straight after you’ve written it. Put it in a drawer somewhere, and come back to it sometime later. It’ll seem fresh to your relaxed brain, and you’ll be able to edit much easier.

FURTHER READING: How to work as a Freelance Journalist by Marc Leverton. by Gary Smailes.

1 Comment

Posted by on November 6, 2010 in Unpublished work


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: