How do you shed the fat? Those unnecessary words that add nothing to your story. I thought I'd share my top 5 tips with you.
- Passive Voice - Should be avoided, try making sentences stronger by going through your work and removing it was, there was, was, is, it and ing words wherever you can.
- Big Words - Don't use two or three when one word will do. And don't use complicated words. It only annoys the reader. Wasn't it Oscar Wilde that said - Don't use big words. They mean so little.
- Speech Tags - Said and asked are really all you need once the reader knows who the characters speaking are, no need to add names every time. Get rid of verbs like explained, answered and quizzed. You don't need them.
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat - Don't do it! Unless of course you're adding new material, and not rehashing what you've already said. I'm terrible for this one. Reading your work aloud helps identify repetitive words. Or better still, record yourself reading a scene, then play it back. You might cringe a few times, but you'll pick up where you've repeated.
- Back Story - Do you really need it? If you can avoid chunks of lengthy narrative, your story will be all the better for it. Perhaps a character can convey what's happened in a few lines of dialogue? If you really need the information, boil it down. Only keep in what you really need to get the information across.
Please do share your own methods of tightening your writing here in the comments.
A very quick update this week, haven't got lots done as I've been taking it easy, relaxing and recovering. Reading and listening to podcasts has been high on my agenda, although I still managed just over three hours of writing this week too.
Have a good week my friends.