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#IWSG: Tighten Your Writing


Time for 2015’s first Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a chance to share our hopes and fears, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.


Since starting as a writer eight years ago, I’ve grown. (I’ve gained about twenty pounds, but that’s for another post.) The kind of growth I’ll discuss today is writing skill development. While I still have so much to learn, one area I’ve improved is tighter writing.

Be gone, verbal diarrhea!

So I want to share this excellent post, 25 Ways to Tighten Your Writing by Betsy Mikel with YOU.

A few of those tips that resonate with me:

1) Stop the adverb abuse. (I was a big offender). Dump the adverbs and choose more descriptive verbs. Instead of “I moved slowly”, try “I trudged.”

2) Knock out the highfalutin’ vocabulary. When I first started writing, I wanted to impress everyone with my intelligence by using words like avocation, prescient, and anathema. Then I learned NOBODY CARES how smart I am. Readers just want a good story with compelling characters, and bigass words might interrupt the flow.

3) Use contractions, which help dialogue sound more realistic. I can’t believe how long I’d write without contractions.

The article provides a link to 200 Common Redundancies. My critique partner Nicki Elson and I felt overwhelmed by reading that list!

In 2015, may your writing be loose and your editing tight, writer friends.

10 thoughts on “#IWSG: Tighten Your Writing”

  1. So you're advocating that our novels go on a \”prose-diet\”? Or at least an adverb one!James Patterson writes mini-chapters, and he is really popular. Our attention spans are shrinking. Of course, he mostly has ghosts do his books these days, so never mind!I agree: our readers just want a riveting story and clunky adverbs and words that are unclear only make our narratives stumble.Best of luck and highest sales with BLOCKED!

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  2. That is such a great article. I still shake in fear at that redundancies list!What's weird about contractions is that when writing, it comes naturally to NOT use them, but reading flows more naturally with them. Something very strange happens in the brain between writing words and reading them.

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  3. Such a good point about adverbs. I'm sure I'm a serial offender when it comes to those!Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading the whole things now!

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  4. Number 1 and 3 – I agree, absolutely. Number 2 – not so much. If the readers don't learn those long and beautiful words from us, writers, the words will vanish, dissolve into oblivion. We keep them alive. If not us, then who?

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  5. Number 1 and 3 – I agree, absolutely. Number 2 – not so much. If the readers don't learn those long and beautiful words from us, writers, the words will vanish, dissolve into oblivion. We keep them alive. If not us, then who?

    Like

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