Copy Corner: Rewriting is the key to writing well
When you write your first draft, the words very often just bubble out. There may not be a great deal of structure. Thats fine for the first draft.
When you move into the rewriting or editing phase, you check that there is a logical flow to your work. Plus, you delete unnecessary words to make the writing sparkle with vigour and clarity.
There is no need for a general principle where a principle will do nicely. Not too many women look for feminine hair product for women. Feminine hair product is just fine. And we dont need to reverse backward when we can simply reverse.
For rewriting or editing, specifics to look out for include:
- Unnecessary words: cut where appropriate and enjoy cutting.
- Appropriate words: use strong verbs as much as possible and nouns but avoid modifiers (the conference was very engaging and rather inspiring – well that’s lovely for you, but very and rather are not convincing me).
- Do a witch hunt on jargon and clichés (the latter can be the kiss of death).
- Voice: brochure copy for a KPMG service is going to have a different tone from a Crazy Johns ad. Make sure you have got it right.
For any worthwhile writing task, rewriting is not an extra thats nice if you have time. It is an essential ingredient. All professional writers embrace rewriting. In fact, its the part of the job they love most.
What copy have you seen recently that could have done with more time in the rewriting stage?