Editor’s note: This was one of the top viewed stories of 2015. We’re rerunning it as part of a look back at the articles that captivated our readers the most.)
Editors read for a living. They read all day long.
Some writing lands on their desk in excellent form, but a lot of it requires serious work with the red pen. Generally, editors are happy to help their writers to develop strong narrative arcs and believable characters.
The most annoying thing, though, is when writers fall at the most basic technical writing hurdles. Editors should not spend their time replacing adverbs with strong verbs or changing from passive to active voice. The writer can and should make these edits when they do their own first edit.
Editors have limited time to spend on your drafts, and that time is expensive. Taking a little time for self-editing can impress your editor and prove your writing skills.
Here are six common problems to fix before your editor gets out the red pen:
1. Replace adverbs with strong verbs.