Look through your draft for sentences that are key to meaning but also aren’t quite conveying or capturing what you want and need them to. Maybe the sentences is “circumlocutious,” circling around what you really mean to say. Maybe the sentence understates or overstates, is too general or implies something you don’t mean at all. Here’s an easy way to get into editing such a sentence:
- Mark that sentence with a squiggly underline.
- Take out a piece of paper or turn to the laptop and write “What I really mean to say is …” Without pausing complete the sentence.
- Drop down and write again “What I really mean to say is …” and write a second version of the sentence.
- Repeat this up to ten times, pushing each time for something different. Try starting the sentence in a different place. Try breaking one sentence into two. Try extending the sentence. See what happens if you reach for an “elevated” tone. See what happens if you aim to be blunt, direct, maybe even rude. Also, play around with length. What happens if you make the sentence really long? What about really short?
- Then, try the process again with a different sentence