Eventually I’m going to stop blogging and just re-post Ramona DeFelice Long’s advice on writing. That’s how good I think it is!

Ramona DeFelice Long

RamonaGravitarToday’s How To post is short and sweet, intended to shorten a manuscript and sweeten it for publication.

Writing economically makes a story more engaging and readable. These tips are not about massive revision or changing scenes. They explain ways to trim the unnecessary from what’s already written.

  1. Write in the active voice rather than the passive voice.  “Was” phrases and gerunds (-ing words) add one word with each use.

He was standing becomes He  stood.

She was beating the dog becomes She beat the dog.

~ He was thinking about becomes He thought.

  1. Remove words that don’t add value to the story.

~  Superfluous words like really, just, even, sort of, kind of, basically, actually, that, very add to word count, but little to content.

  1. Remove sentences that must be explained.

~ Something was wrong – Instead of making this announcement, tell what’s wrong.


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8 thoughts on “

  1. I’m sooooo tempted to leave a slimy trail of adverbs behind me after I say how BRILLIANT this is.

    Thank you for sharing it!
    Oh! Nearly forgot: LOVE your new header/design.

  2. That first recommendation is a good one (and a theme of Douglas Glover’s recent book, Attack of the Copula Spiders). I was having … I mean, I had that affliction for a long time.

  3. Excellent, dense and muscular. I can’t stop loving baroque words, though, that explode in slow motion and leave shrapnel inside your head. A sentence is not just a modernist house, it’s also a reality distortion field, yes?

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