giovedì 21 febbraio 2019

Hi! So I recently discovered removing the word 'that' from 90% of my writing actually made it more fluid and hardly impacted the readability. Tiny achievement but very proud of myself as a novice writer ^.^ I was wondering if (other than the up/down one) there were any other tiny tricks for removing superfluous words? Thanks!

Great question! Honestly, there are hundreds, but here are a few to get you started.

Words You Can (Usually) Safely Cut from Your Writing

  • That
  • Then
  • Start
  • Begin
  • Suddenly
  • Down
  • Up
  • Kind of
  • Really
  • Just
  • Basically

In general, look out for adverbs (actually, really), “hedging” words (kind of, sometimes), and ambiguous words (nothing, everything, someone). Some can be cut; others will need to be revised or swapped out. “That” is a classic offender. “Then” can usually be changed to “and.” It’s only necessary to qualify that an action was “started” if the action gets interrupted, otherwise it can be cut. (”She started to cry” becomes “She cried”).

I have a detailed, exhaustive list of words like this (with explanations!) in my book The Complete Guide to Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which will be done soon :)

Nice to hear from you & hope this helps!

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