Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 38.

pirate

As writers, we generally share ideas to improve our craft. Here are some ways to trim our writing. Readers will appreciate us removing these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Descend down:

I’m fairly certain it’s not possible to descend in any direction but down, so the qualifier is not needed. e.g. The pirate captain forced the captive to descend down into the bowels of his ship. Try: The pirate captain forced the captive to descend into the bowels of his ship.

Refer back:

Back is unnecessary here. Let’s leave it out, shall we? e.g. The pirate had to refer back to the treasure map before he could start digging. Try: The pirate had to refer to the treasure map before he could start digging.

Integrate with each other:

It’s a little difficult to integrate in the absence of others. e.g. The pirate captain gathered his new crew on deck so they could integrate with each other. Try: The pirate captain gathered his new crew on deck so they could integrate.

Reading these posts and nodding sagely won’t necessarily improve your writing. So stay alert to extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll slide in unnoticed. Include this check as part of your editing process, and you’ll catch most offenders. Fiction writers know that real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue can be made more natural by occasionally including these.

These suggestions are intended to make us think about what we write, examine our words, and help us improve our writing. Rules about writing form useful guides but aren’t set in stone. Always bear in mind George Orwell’s wise words; ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’

4 thoughts on “Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 38.

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