Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Words that can be rearranged or eliminated for better flow.
Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…
Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.
This is going to be very brief today, and probably not all that helpful. But, I notice this sort of thing often, either unneeded words or poorly arranged words.
Examples: (I am aware, even with the ‘better’, that the below sentences could be improved further, but these are just quick samples of minor tweaks)
He had his hands cuffed in front of him. ~ Better: His hands were cuffed in front of him.
They both sat at the table. ~ ‘They’ is all you need, ‘both’ isn’t necessary. Better: They sat at the table.
With a sour expression on his face, he left the room. ~ Where else would his sour expression be but on his face? Better: With a sour expression, he left the room.
She refused to answer his calls, because she wasn’t going to go down that road again. ~ ‘Because’ is telling and sounds like you’re stopping the story to explain. Plus, ‘going to’ is unnecessary. Better: She refused to answer his calls. She wasn’t going down that road again.
“I wish you’d listen to reason”—with that he stood abruptly—“but I suppose that’s too much to expect.” ~ “With that” isn’t needed. Better: “I wish you’d listen to reason”—he stood abruptly—“but I suppose that’s too much to expect.”
She aimed toward the couple at the bar with her camera. ~ The couple at the bar didn’t have her camera. Better: She aimed her camera toward the couple at the bar .
In these last few, it’s not necessary to name the body parts. What else would you kick, nod, or shrug with?
He kicked him with his foot.
She nodded her head.
He shrugged his shoulders.
As I said, a brief one today. Just a suggestion to be aware of crowding your prose with unnecessary and obvious words. 😉
Until next time…Happy Writing!
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*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible.
How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.
Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.
Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!
*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)
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9 responses to “Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Suggestions to Tweak Your Wording”
Criminy – I see unnecessary words in books written by NYT authors all the time. That doesn’t make the practice right. Thanks for the info.
Yes, I find more material for my blogs from NYT authors than anywhere else. They make a LOT of what I consider mistakes. Thanks!!
A good tip–especially for wordy writers (like me)! Thanks!
You’re not all that wordy. 🙂 Thanks, Susan!
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Yes. These are good! I find them in my writing from time to time. One thing, though–sometimes you do use what might be considered extra words for emphasis. Like the example with they both sat at the table. Maybe the author wanted to emphasize both for some reason, like, previously they wouldn’t sit together in the same place. I don’t know, but I do know that when I’m editing sometimes I’ll hesitate over something that is technically not necessary and try to decide if it is something I want in stylistically. I think I’m getting better at some of these kinds of mistakes, though. I pick them up more often. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, M.J. That is absolutely correct. I try to take the style and potential for emphasis, etc, into consideration. You’re welcome…thank you!
You are quite welcome!
Thanks for sharing as usual, Alicia!