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.
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.)
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.)
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.’