It's Wordy Wednesday...
...but today I'll talk about more words you want to get rid of before submitting (a follow up to my post 2 weeks ago, which you can view here). Today's focus: unnecessary words.
Here's the checklist, followed by examples:
In a way
Enter these words (and their variations) in your "find" box for your word processor. If you don't find each one dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of times, then congratulations, you have a tight manuscript. If not, here's some examples to get your started:
1) It's all like just somehow really very wordy
Now, you probably don't have sentences that wordy, but they might look something like this:
Somehow, he knew this would happen.
He knew this would happen
It all made sense. If only he could just make sense of that last clue...
It all made sense. Now, if he could decipher the last clue...
She really hated him, and it spread to all her friends like it was some kind of pandemic.
Her hatred for him was pandemic. After a week of gossip, everyone in the office wanted him out.
(Notice that cutting unnecessary words doesn't always make your sentence shorter.)
2) It seems quite hard to read, or rather, its actually somewhat tedious
Now that's a tedious sentence. Yours might look a little more like these:
She seemed to notice him.
She noticed him.
It was rather hard not to think of him that way.
She couldn't think of him that way.
The dog looked somewhat angry.
The dog growled.
3) In a way, this thing is still a little long
Ugh! Here are some examples:
In a way, her answer reflected wisdom beyond her years.
Her answer showed wisdom beyond her years.
The box was lined with black things, long little tubes that poked up in all directions.
Finger-length, black tubes lined the box, poking up like porcupine quills.
It was taking them a long time to get where they needed to go. Bryan looked at his watch.
Bryan checked his watch. 5:00. "We should have been finished by 4:30!"
4) It's not just about cutting words
Notice these examples are not mindless word-cutting exercises. Sometimes there is a place to use "just" and "that". Your goal isn't just to cut words, but to replace them with ones that show the reader your story.
Now take the challenge further. Read your manuscript and look for words you use a lot. Put them in your "find" box and see how you've used them. Can you cut them out and make your writing sharper?
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
It's Wordy Wednesday...