- Edit for passive voice. Look for every "was" in your MS and ask if you can reword it. I must admit, I've never been able to remove all my was words, but in a focused edit, I can usually get rid of 60 - 70% of them. For example, think about "He was sitting" versus "He sat" - there's only a slight difference here, but you get into the action in fewer syllables, and the verb in the second passage is "sat" the verb in the first passage is "was". The second passage puts the reader in the action and this is an easy edit that will strengthen your writing.
- Edit out suddenly. If something is suddenly happening, show it. Put the reader in the action. For example "he suddenly felt fear" vs. "Looking up, his heart flew up to his throat, his mouth dry..." The second passage puts the reader in the scene. They can feel the fear themselves.
- Avoid finally. Using the word finally indicates that you might be using a lot of words to describe how the character did something, which could be unnecessary.
- Using the word "then" might indicate that you're telling the events in a chronological sequence that could be on the nose. Edit for "this happened then that."
- Last thing I'll mention in this post is to avoid word/sound replications. I do this all the time when I'm writing a draft, and it's easy to edit out - just keep a good thesaurus on hand!
- Last week Blogger, Colby Marshall, suggested editing out her crutch words, get and just...definitely a good idea. You can follow Colby at http://colbymarshall.blogspot.com
Poco, Austin, Tut and Maya