Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 47.

Politics

We writers share ideas to improve our craft. This series aims to trim our writing. Readers will appreciate the absence of these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Joint collaboration:

Let’s dispense with the ‘joint’, unless you feel the need for a fix, of course. All collaboration is a joint affair, after all. e.g. Joint collaboration between Big Business, politics and religion is responsible for many of the ills of the world. Try: Collaboration between Big Business, politics and religion is responsible for many of the ills of the world.

Period of time:

Can it be a period of anything else? e.g. Big Business ruled during the period of time leading to the last financial crash. Try: Big Business ruled during the period leading to the last financial crash.

Merging together:

I’m pretty certain you can’t merge apart. e.g. We would be better off in almost every way if we could only prevent Big Business and Politics merging together. Try: We would be better off in almost every way if we could only prevent Big Business and Politics merging. Or, better? We would be better off in almost every way if we could only prevent Politics merging with Big Business.

If you read these posts and just nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. You’ll need to stay alert for extraneous words sneaking into text, or they’ll slide in unnoticed. Include this 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 are intended to make us examine our words to help us improve our writing. Rules about writing form useful guides but they’re not 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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