Editing is hard. As writers, we want every word we write to be perfectly used; etched in stone.

Sometimes we must break the rock.

Below are examples of my edits for my latest short story with brief explanations as to why I made the changes. I hope these examples will be helpful to my fellow writers and readers within the Void. 

#1
  • “Hurry!” the face on the screen was yelling.
  • EDIT: “Hurry!” the voice yelled.
  • “…yes yelling” can be easily shortened to “yelled,” making the sentence shorter.
#2
  • Tendons in my shoulder tore.
  • EDIT: Tendons tore in my shoulder.
  • Having the verb “tore” at the end of the sentence sounded strange to me when reading aloud. And this revision allows my mind to process the sentence easier, given that I know what is happening to the tendons sooner. 
 #3
  • I could feel the needle inside my leg.
  • EDIT: I felt the needle in my leg.
  • Similar to Item #1, “could feel” can be shortened to “felt.”
 #4
  • The spinning of the pod was slowing
  • EDIT: The spinning of the pod slowed.
  • Similar to Item’s #1 and #3, “was slowing” can be shortened to “slowed.”
 #5
  • Thunder clapped from somewhere outside.
  • EDIT: Thunder clapped outside.
  • “From somewhere” isn’t essential in the sentence because by just saying “outside,” we know where the thunder is coming from.
 #6
  • I’ll pass the event horizon in a few minutes.
  • EDIT: I’ll cross the event horizon in a few minutes.
  • In terms of black holes, it sounded much better to me to say “crossing” the event horizon instead of “passing.” We don’t pass over thresholds. We cross them. 
 #7
  • A long time ago, I watched the Earth explode.
  • EDIT: Years ago, I watched the Earth explode.
  • FINAL Edit: I was twenty years old when I watched the Earth explode.
  • This is the first sentence of my short story, thus I needed it to instantly grab the attention of the reader. Having the Earth explode was essential to have in the sentence, but it was the timeline of that event I was struggling with. I initially didn’t want to be too specific, however after several test readings, it was clear I needed to be. So, the timeline went from very vague (a long time ago) to very specific (I was twenty years old). 
#8
  • In the corners of my vision, darkness looms outside the tiny pod windows. I am terrified.
  • EDIT: In the corners of my vision, darkness looms outside the tiny pod windows.
  • This sentence was the start of a new paragraph. I made “I am terrified” a new paragraph as well because I wanted it to stand out physically within the writing to show how scared my main character really was. 
 #9
  • The pod’s shell creaks in agony. There is a loud exploding sound.
  • EDIT: There is an explosion and the pod’s shell creaks in agony.
  • I felt the pod creaking was a result of the explosion – or whatever caused the explosion to occur, thus I moved the creaking pod after the explosion after combining the two sentences into one. 
 #10
  • Joints and muscles I didn’t know I had feel like they are being ripped apart.
  • EDIT: Muscles and joints I didn’t know I had feel like they are being ripped apart.
  • I felt that “muscles” needed to come before “joints” given the muscles are connected to joints.