Books, writing, reading and words. I love them; do you?

Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 03.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many writers welcome the sharing of ideas that might improve our craft. So, let’s chop the fat from our writing. Make it lean and trim. Readers will thank us.

In this series, I’ll look at some common redundancies and other questionable writing devices.

But, reading this and nodding wisely in agreement won’t do. We need to stay alert to those extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll reappear. Including this aspect in our editing process should catch most offenders.

Advance planning:

‘advance’ is redundant: you can’t plan in arrears, only in advance. e.g. If he stood any chance of bamboozling the electorate, Osborne thought he’d better employ some advance planning. Try: To stand any chance of bamboozling the electorate, Osborne needed to do some serious planning.

You’re going to have/need to:

This is a flabby phrase. e.g. You’re going to have to make a greater effort if you’re going to convince me. Try: You’ll have to make more effort to convince me.

It is/it’s:

A lazy and poor start to a sentence. e.g. It’s unlikely that George will improve his appeal to sensible voters. Try: George is unlikely to increase his appeal to sensible voters.

Please consider these as suggestions, intended to make us think about what we write, to examine the words and help us decide where we can improve the sense of them. Writing rules are useful guides, but, as George Orwell famously said, ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’

5 Responses to “Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 03.”

  1. D. Wallace Peach

    These posts are helpful, as well as critiques from other writers who have an eye for fat. Once we start seeing them, they’re easier to identify in our own work. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • stuartaken

      As long as the editing process doesn’t become an obsession that prevents the writer from ever finishing a piece, of course, AnnMarie! We all need to know when to stop editing and put the piece out there for readers to appreciate.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: