Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Editing 101: Removing Those Troublesome Words

Editing 101: Removing Those Troublesome Words

Ever feel like a surgeon with a scalpel when you start editing. A little cut here, a little cut there...

I judge contests from time to time and see authors sending in manuscripts that aren’t ready for publication for one reason or another. In many cases, it’s because their writing doesn’t flow. The addition of extra words will bog the reader down and cause the novel progress slowly.

When I edit my own work, I do a search for each of the following words and omit them or replace them with stronger descriptive words.

adverbs (words ending in –ly)
-ing forms of verbs
that (this words is widely overused)
it was
just, just then
was, were, is, are some, a little, some of the
tried to, proceeded to, seemed to, began to, started to
there were, there is, there are, there was
would, could, suddenly, immediately, all at once, thought, wondered, mused, knew, felt, decided
seemed, appeared, looked
could see, could hear, could smell, could taste, etc

*Use exclamation points VERY sparingly

*No back story in the first chapter at least