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Rewriting workshop

Before seeing Harry Potter, I attended an all-day workshop in Wandsworth. At first, I was skeptical whether I'd be able to learn anything about "rewriting" in one day. But the experienced freelance teacher proved me wrong. Here are some golden nuggets worth digesting.

It's best if there's no rewriting in the first place. Otherwise there are three criteria to avoid rewriting: time, money, and relationship with the author. In other words, rewriting takes time, costs money, and may negatively affect your relationship with the author.

In general, there are three things wrong with the text: structure, style, and relevance. If you can cure one of them, you've solved all. In other words, focus on the greatest offender. First identify what's wrong with it. Then ask how you can go about putting it right.

How to cut? Get rid of what's irrelevant. Cut repetition. Cut illustration (superfluous extraneous information). Be sure to know why you're cutting so that you can justify it to the writer. Trick: ask yourself, if you can keep one paragraph which one is it? Then ask yourself, if you can get rid of one paragraph, which one is it?

How to add or fill? Try to stay with the same style and tone.

Work with what the author provides whenever possible. It will save time and money and avoid ill feeling. A little goes a long way. Know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

17 November 2001 Saturday

The Publishing Training Centre is located in a building called the Book House near Wandsworth train station.
In the 1970's Chrissie Maher, OBE, started the Plain English Campaign in England after noticing the misery caused by needlessly complicated forms.
Tips on how to write in plain English say with fewer and simpler words.