Friday, June 4, 2010

Tighten up Your Writing!

Today is Writer's Friday! Here are 8 thing that will make your writing better.

1)Get rid of as many adverbs as possible, especially the “ly” words. What is an adverb? It is a word that tells more about a verb, adjective, or another adverb. It tells “how”, “where”, “when” or “to what extent”. Examples of adverbs are: “quietly”, “sometimes”, “very”, “too”. Are these words necessary in your writing?

2)Get rid of adjectives. Just like adverbs, adjectives are over used. Often two or three are used, when one or none are needed. What is an adjective? It is a word that tells more about a noun or pronoun. It tells “what kind” “how many” or “which one”. Examples are “this”, “that” “good-looking”, “Irish”, “beautiful”. Are you using too many adjectives?

3)Be aware of “ing” words. They can make you sentences cluttered and wordy. Ask yourself these questions: Do I really need it? Can I make the verb simpler by getting rid of the “ing”? If so does it change the meaning? Does the sentence move quicker and smoother without the “ing”? Can I eliminate the phrase with the “ing” in it?

4)Get rid of any unnecessary back-story. Does the reader really need to know this? Is it relevant to the story? If not get rid of it!

5)Get rid of passages that tell the reader what they already know. No need to be redundant!

6)Get rid of passages that are overly descriptive. Readers don’t need to know the exact dimensions of a room or the exact description of a character.

7)Get rid of or edit passages that describe the character’s thoughts and feelings in too much detail. Example: long sections of internal dialogue or long narratives.

8)Get rid of passive voice when active voice will work better. What is active voice? What is passive voice? In Active voice the subject of the sentence is actually doing something. Example: Brenna hugged Scott. Brenna is doing something to Scott. In passive voice the recipient of the action is moved to the position of the subject. Example: Scott is hugged by Brenna. Scott becomes the subject, but he isn’t doing anything. He is receiving a hug from Brenna.


  1. Great list!

    Have you tried out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard? It automatically finds most of the things you mention. I love it!

  2. Thanks Jay Tee. Nope I haven't tried it, but thanks I think I'm gonna!:)