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

Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 48.

cloudkneel2

Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve our craft. This series aims at trim writing, using examples intended to stimulate the imagination. Readers will appreciate the absence of common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Penetrate into:

Is it possible to penetrate out of? No, I didn’t think so. e.g. At that exquisite moment of union, the man penetrated into her innermost centre. Try: At that exquisite moment of union, the man penetrated her innermost centre. (Sometimes, the ‘Bad Sex Award’ beckons.)

Kneel down:

Whilst you can kneel upright, as opposed to adopting the somewhat obsequious posture with the forehead touching the ground, the addition of ‘down’ here is unnecessary. e.g. Kneel down before the mighty and beneficent Ytraa. Try: Kneel before the mighty and beneficent Ytraa. (Ytraa is the name of a god in my fantasy series, A Seared Sky.)

Mutual cooperation:

Cooperation is mutual by definition, so let’s avoid the tautology, eh? e.g. People of reason will need mutual cooperation to succeed against the forces of evil. Better: People of reason will need cooperation to succeed against the forces of evil. But that’s a touch passive. Perhaps better is: Reasonable people must cooperate to beat the forces of evil.

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.’

2 Responses to “Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 48.”

    • stuartaken

      Well said, DM. There are many examples of this type of unnecessary language, which is really what this series of posts has been about. I suspect I could have gone on for another hundred or so posts, but I feel it’s time to move on, hoping that readers will now be aware of the dangers and avoid them.
      Thanks for your comment.

      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: