I believe that within each writer there is an editor, a source of self-criticism that can take our work to the next level with a simple re-read and a dash of red pen. Of course, self-editing is not the end of the line when it comes to polishing your writing (workshopping and seeking a third-party editor is invaluable) but you can do a lot for your story, poem, or script by simply cleaning it up yourself.\r\n\r\nAt sentence-level (looking at each word and how it functions within the sentence it forms) you can usually cut, condense, or re-word to enrich your writing. There are many things that you could focus on when self-editing at sentence-level (from tone and voice to word-choice and vocabulary) but without even delving too deeply you can tighten and intensify your style.\r\n\r\nBefore you email your writing to a friend, pass around the paper at a workshopping group, or send off your submission to a journal, take the time to focus on the following to wake up your inner-editor.\r\n\r\nDevelop your inner editor by cutting the unnecessary frills from your writing. Image Credit: Pete O'Shea via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\nCut adverbs\r\nThis may sound harsh, but adverbs are lazy. Adverbs work against the idea of \u2018show, don\u2019t tell\u2019 by telling the reader that \u2018the star shone brightly\u2019 rather than showing that it \u2018twinkled and glittered like a lost silver coin\u2019, for example.\r\n\r\nThere is almost always a way to show an adverb rather than telling it, and sometimes you can just cut them entirely and your writing hasn\u2019t lost anything.\r\n\r\nThe more adverbs you use, the less interesting and unique your descriptions become. So any time you can show your adverb, or cut it entirely, the more enjoyable your writing becomes to read.\r\nOmit needless words\r\nIt was the great Strunk who hammered the following into E.B. White\u2019s brain, and it stands true today. We pack our writing (as we do our speech) with \u2018filler\u2019 words, words that don\u2019t add to the sentence but just take up valuable space.\r\n\r\nThe main culprits to take note of include: really, very, just, so, a lot, pretty much, rather, quite, and sometimes.\r\n\r\nSometimes these words are necessary, but you\u2019ll know when to get rid of them and when to re-write them. Check out this cheat sheet for ideas on how to get around lazy 'very' words.\r\n\r\nUnnecessary words can also work their way into your writing by means of tautology or repetition. When you\u2019ve said one thing but reiterate it in different words you\u2019re creating unnecessary work for the reader, and using up your word count.\r\n\r\nComb back through your writing and analyse the importance of every word at sentence-level, cutting the ones that are pointless. Be ruthless. This will tighten your sentences and give greater impact and immediacy to your writing.\r\nAvoid clich\u00e9s\r\nWe wouldn\u2019t have them if they weren\u2019t so good. But it\u2019s like flogging a dead horse (see what I did there?). Clich\u00e9s are used so frequently in our everyday language that it feels natural to slip them into your writing, and you don\u2019t even notice.\r\n\r\nThey\u2019re often brilliant images or analogies, but when you\u2019ve heard them all your life they become meaningless and dull.\r\n\r\nIf you find the perfect clich\u00e9 to sum up your character\u2019s emotions or thoughts, cut it and re-write your own with images that are original and new. Creativity is refreshing, so use it to your advantage to wow your reader with new words in new ways.