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), it’s never too soon to get them used to the process of reading through and improving their own work.
Ask any published author, and they’re likely to tell you that they spend as much time – if not more – editing their work as they do creating it in the first place.
And while your child may not be penning the next Man Booker winner (yet!
So it might be worthwhile for you to learn a few basic rules, if only to have more time to spend with your family, or whatever it is you’d rather be doing. Leave your writing alone for a while — an hour, a day, a week. If you write “I lied on the couch after the man drug me across the floor,” your reader might think you’re writing some weird espionage novel.
You probably want to say “I lay on the couch after the man dragged me across the floor.”The most mutilated verbs are .
The following list is a series of questions for you to answer.
Obviously if the answer to any of them is ‘No’, when it should be ‘Yes’, then go back to the novel and make the necessary changes. There are rewards too: it’s very exciting to see the novel taking shape and improving at each stage of the process. Autocrit is one of them and I invite you to check it out.Children are often conditioned to think that their work has to be perfect at the first attempt.But while this might apply to subjects like maths, it’s something to actively discourage when it comes to creative writing: editing as you write is hard work and disrupts the flow of thoughts and ideas.‘It engages their thought processes and helps them to make their writing even better.’Part of the editing process involves thinking about who your child is writing for, and how well the writing suits their audience – for example, the tone will be different if they’re writing for their teacher rather than for their younger sibling.‘I often ask children to imagine that they’re writing for their best friend, as this focuses their attention on whether the piece is something that they would like to read themselves,’ adds Ed.Learning to edit is, however, a tricky process and one that children often see as boring or unnecessary.So how can you encourage your child to master this important skill?This will require several run-throughs of the whole manuscript, and the editing checklist is perfect to use then.There’s too much to think of to keep it straight in your head, so it's good to use a checklist and work your way through it.‘One hundred words is a manageable amount to read back, so taking part in the challenge and getting your child to go over their own work is the ideal introduction to editing,’ says Julia Skinner, founder of the 100 Word Challenge and The Head’s Office blog.This is one of the most valuable ways to self-edit.