Polishing Your Stuff

So, you’ve found a piece you want to submit to Circulation but you’re a little nervous about submitting it.  Your ideas are strong, obviously.  You’re a smart, savvy information student and you know your topic well.  Sometimes, though, your writing needs a little polish.

Here are three steps toward more powerful writing.

  1. Omit needless words.  When excess verbiage pads your writing, it doesn’t just put you over on your word limit.  Too many words can make your paper or story difficult to read and even obscure your ideas.  Be ruthless.  Always be on the lookout for phrases you can replace with a single term.
  2. Focus on transitions.  One of the best ways to tell if your structure works is to consider your transitions.  Do they flow naturally?  Were they a struggle to write?  Chances are, if you had trouble linking two ideas, readers will too.  When you identify weak transitions, consider whether they should be revised or if it’s time to reorganize.
  3. Murder your darlings.  Clichéd as it may be, good writers must learn to kill their favorite sentences when they become distracting.  You might have gotten goose bumps when you wrote it, but that won’t stop it from turning into a road block.  As you edit, be on guard for your darlings.  Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and pull the trigger…

– Becky Ramsey, Co-Editor-in-Chief, MLIS Candidate

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