Category Archives: Editing


“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

That’s a quote from the brilliant children’s author Dr Seuss (above) as this week we’re sharing 5P’s EXCELLENT EDITS!

Before the Easter break Ali emailed her adoptees with updates on her super soup making! STOP Ali, you’re making us all hungry and we’ve still got another hour till lunch!

This week I am running, walking, making soup…

This is the soup I made on Sunday. Cauliflower, potato & cheese.

Loooooovely, if I do say so myself. I’m making lots of soup this week.

I don’t know why. I just AM, OK?!

…and redrafting. Or editing. This basically means I am going all the way through a story I wrote earlier and rewriting bits of it, adding extra bits, taking some bits away entirely. It tales a lot of concentration and in many ways is harder work than writing a whole story for the first time. On the upside, I’ve just engulfed one of my main characters in a swarm of bees. (Yeah. I’m like that.) I didn’t have that bit in the first draft.

Editing is a really important part of being a good writer. It’s tempting to think that the first thing you’ve written is brilliant and could NEVER be improved. But you always can improve your first draft. So this week I’m not asking you to write anything. I’m just asking you to IMPROVE something. I’ve attached your task. It’s some writing which is… a bit iffy. There are all kinds of problems with it. See if you can find them and improve them. You can rewrite bits if you like, adding stuff or changing words to make it more exciting –  or just to make it make sense. You can do this as a class or in groups, in pairs or on your own – I’ll let Paul decide.

Good luck, 5P!


PS. This message will self destruct in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Here’s the original text – and let’s see what 5P made of it….

What’s wrong with this story? Can you improve it?

Bella woke up in the moonlite and heard strange sounds coming from outside thw window, oh no, she thought, who could that be? She creeped downstares and opened the front door but there was only a shadow in the distance which scared her even more because it was making a mowning sound like a creature.

Suddenly it sprang out of the trees with a scream and Bella was scared to deth. She went and got a stick from the cupboard and threw it at the monster which was running towards the dore.

But as soon as she saw the monster she was gobsmacked because she knew it wasn’t a monster. It was something else.


We AND Ali were super impressed….

Well done on your editing before you went off on hols. From the samples I’ve seen it looks like you all picked up the obvious errors and also added some really nice – much better – descriptive words and phrases. And well done Kalina and Matt for getting rid of that ghastly word ‘gobsmacked’ and replacing it with something better. I put it in there because it’s an example of a cliché… the kind of thing which gets said a lot for a while and is a bit of a trend and quite annoying. If I smacked someone in the gob every time they said ‘gobsmacked’ I’d be a champion prize-fighter by now. And in prison, obviously.

Listen out for clichés in the news. The one you’ll hear all the time at the moment is ‘going forward’. It really doesn’t mean anything. Politicians say it a lot. They tend to use a lot of clichés. They’re always saying ‘let me be clear’ and ‘hardworking British people’.

Try to avoid clichés – like ‘scared to death‘ and ‘over the moon‘ and so on. Everyone knows what you mean but they get so boring and predictable. Words are for playing with. You can create your own clichés if you fancy it. Try it out for fun. Instead of ‘sick as a parrot‘ you could say ‘bilious as a bullfrog‘. Instead of ‘over the moon‘ you could say ‘orbiting Jupiter‘.  My favourite made up one is in the Shapeshifter series – ‘mad as a jar of gerbils‘.

A bilious bulfrog, yesterday.

Make a list of boring clichés and then come up with some 5P replacements! And start using them around school. After a while everybody else will start to know who’s from 5P without even looking at them.

OK – the MAIN challenge now. At the end of last term I sent you a small book called A SUDDEN DROP. We’ll be using this….


BUT…I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until next week to find out what 5P’s next challenge was….

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Team AAA x