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Ring of Truth
Ralph Dranow : Ring of Truth Writing and Editing

Ring of Truth Writing and Editing

By Ralph Dranow

The foundation of strong writing is the ring of truth, writing that comes from a deep place inside and taps into universal feelings and experiences. Readers from all backgrounds will be able to relate to this kind of writing.

So if you've achieved this, it's a great start, but your writing might still feel incomplete, because it's not saying most effectively what you would like it to say. Perhaps you've worked hard on your piece and reached your limit with it. That's where good editing can come in. It can take the rough raw material of your writing and polish it into something that feels just right, perhaps even beautiful and moving.

Here are some examples of how good editing can make a difference with your writing. If you've written a sentence that's awkward or confusing, the editor may revise it or suggest certain changes in order to make the sentence clear and flowing. Now it isn't a stumbling block for the reader but a welcome stepping stone to the next sentence.

If your piece uses more words than necessary to convey your meaning, skillful editor will help you take out the superfluous words while leaving in the ones that are essential. Sometimes that means parting with a phrase or sentence you've fallen in love with. But having a vision of the larger picture will make it easier to accept these cuts. Clearing away the weeds in a cluttered garden allows the real flowers to stand out and breathe more freely.

Another example: spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors can lower the quality of your writing. A run-on sentence crying out for a period or a complicated series within a sentence that's not set off by semi-colons could result in confusion. Using a plural noun and a singular verb: "The criteria for the job is…." can make your writing seem sloppy.

Also, a good editor will help you refine your language so it feels fresh and evocative, bringing in the senses and creating a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Sometimes you might feel attached to metaphors and phrases that are stale and overused: "He gave it 110 per cent." Cliches like this will drag your writing down. With some reflection, you can come up with language that's more original and makes your writing come alive.

A final example: your writing lacks organizational structure and doesn't hang together. A perceptive editor will point this out to you, giving you suggestions on how to fix it. This means being able to envision your work as a coherent whole and see how all the pieces fit together to serve your larger purpose.

So all of these things, plus considerations like plot, character, tone, etc. for fictional writing, can make a huge difference. By careful attention to detail and nuance, a skillful editor helps honor the deep, truthful quality of your writing, revealing its essence. Then it will resonate with the ring of truth and touch your readers' hearts and your own as well. •

Copyright © 2012 by Ralph Dranow. All rights reserved.

Ralph DranowRalph Dranow loves to work with people who have written something deep and passionate but feel that the writing is not quite there yet. With his writing and editing skills, he can help make the writing flow so that his clients feel their ideas and feelings have been given their strongest expression. More »

Updated 1/6/14