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

Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 43.

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We writers often share ideas to improve our craft. Here are some ways to trim your writing. Readers will value the absence of redundancies and flabby expressions.

Emergency situation:

Situation is extraneous here, so we can manage without it. e.g. They have an emergency situation at the flower festival; all the petals are falling off! Try: They have an emergency at the flower festival; all the petals are falling off!

Postpone until later:

It’s difficult to postpone until before, so let’s excise the waffle, shall we? e.g. You ought to postpone your celebrations until later, when you’ve had confirmation of your success. Try: You ought to postpone your celebrations until you’ve had confirmation of your success.

In spite of that fact that:

Lots of words to say a simple thing; maybe use ‘although’ or some similar introductory word? e.g. In spite of that fact that I’m rich, I won’t pay my fair share of taxes, because I’m greedy. Try: Although I’m rich, I won’t pay my fair share of taxes, because I’m greedy. (I’m not and I do, by the way!)

If all you do is read these posts and nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. 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 real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue reads more naturally if you occasionally include these.

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

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