Clean Copy So, by now your copy is in great shape
– or it should be! And this isn’t just
about the story itself…
It is good practice to keep
a ‘clean copy’ when writing and
how you achieve this is by
consciously writing to certain
rules, with regards punctuation and
grammar. You also need to ensure
that your writing is tight and you are
not going off on tangents.
The use of synonyms can be the
difference between repetitive and
lively prose and it can be very helpful,
even when you are midway through
writing your story, to take a few
minutes out to sharpen your mind
with short exercises.
At the end of this lesson, through
your next set of exercises, you will
work on your synonyms as well as test
your ability to list opposites. This will
keep your writing mind on its toes!
So, synonyms…
The need to use a
particular word regularly is
commonplace when writing about
something specific. In order, however,
to avoid sounding repetitive and
stinting the flow of your story, look to
synonyms and the pace within your
copy will not be
adversely affected.
Synonyms are alternative
words that have a similar or
related meaning.
Here are some examples...
FIGHT: Argument/brawl
NAUGHTY: Disobedient/bold
NICE: Enjoyable/pleasant
Let’s take the first example
and use it to create a scene...
The fight broke out on a cold
and windy evening.
Everyone agreed that it was John’s fault.
They said he was looking for a fight all
night. His final punch was so hard
that he knocked
Joseph out and the messy
fight came to an end.
Now, let’s use the word
fight less by replacing it with
a word that has similar meaning.
The fight broke out on a cold and
windy evening. Everyone agreed
that it was John’s fault. They
said he was looking for an argument
all night. His final punch was so hard
that he knocked Joseph out and
the messy brawl
came to an end.
In the first instance you can see how
repetitive use of a word can become
monotonous and difficult to read. In the
second, however, you can see how the
use of synonyms immediately diffuses
the original vibe and ensures cleaner copy
and a much easier reading experience.
CHECKLIST
Everyone has a different process
when writing. Some like to write from
start to finish without looking back,
while others like to take care of their
copy as they go.
In the end, cleaner copy will make
for an easier editing and
proofing experience.
So, before we get to next week’s
conclusion writing, editing and
proofing, take a look at the following
pointers when reviewing your
copy at this stage…
1) Question and
exclamation marks:
Have you used them correctly?
There is no need
for more than one to be
used at any time. Using three
exclamation marks
does not add any
weight to the statement!
2) Direct quotes:
When writing speech
it is good practice to start the
next person’s quote on a
separate line. Do not run different
character’s quotes into one huge
paragraph.
3) Chapters:
Remember, there are no chapters
in a short story.
4) Paragraphs:
Have you made sure that you are
using them? Paragraphs make for an
easier reading experience and enhance
pace and flow.
5) Spelling:
Text language in particular –
do not use it unless it is a text you are
writing about!
6) Abbreviations:
Do not abbreviate words unless it is
in conversation. For example: ’till
instead of until.
7) Tense:
Make sure you are not switching
between past and present.
8) Dialogue:
Do not rely solely on dialogue to tell
your story. It is important to use
description and scene setting also.
9) Your title:
Have you chosen it? For some of
you, it will occur to you as you write
– others will have to mull it over.
Don’t worry though –
you will get there!
EXERCISES
To practice your synonyms go to
Week 3/Exercise Sheet 1 and to test
your knowledge on opposites
download Week 3/Exercise Sheet 2.
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