Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 44.


Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve their craft. Here are some tricks to trim your writing. Readers will appreciate the absence of these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Equal to one another:

Wordy! e.g. The authors were equal to one another in terms of books published, but she was a better writer. Try: The authors were equal in terms of books published, but she was a better writer.

In the process of:

Are you? There are better, more economical ways of expressing this. e.g. I’m in the process of writing my sixth novel. Try: I’m writing my sixth novel.

Pick and choose:

If you pick, you choose. e.g. You should pick and choose your books wisely. Try: You should pick your books wisely. Or: You should choose your books wisely.

If you only read these posts and nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. You’ll need to 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 can read more naturally by occasionally including these.

These suggestions should make us think about what we write and examine our words to help us improve our writing. Rules about writing do form useful guides but they 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.’

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