This is a popular posting and has been requested again. I hope you find this uselful
What are they you ask? Check them out below. All words are good though some words need to be used sparingly. Editing and revising seem daunting when you first start out, but eventually you’ll come to like the process. My publisher, MuseItUp, gave me a list of words to for and eliminate if I could before their full edit ever began. Words I’ve found, I use in my speech and peppered throughout my writing.
As you look at the list below, I want to remind you not to go overboard in deleting all of them, like I did on my first book. The editor had to add some back. I can’t stress this enough, there are times these words are the only words that will work in a sentence. If you can reword the sentence and it still makes sense, do it.
What did the list teach me? Before I submit a manuscript, I now comb through it thoroughly and hunt out these culprits. After I find them, I restructure the sentences for a tighter, more precise delivery. What also amazed me by doing this exercise was the results. It improved the story making my voice more active.
Here’s the list:
|began or began to
||Use toward NOT towards
||Use backward NOT backwards
||Use forward NOT forwards
My motto when in doubt, remove the word.
In the editing process, I discovered something amazing. I like editing. I’m always in awe when the restructured sentence comes alive, putting the reader in the action. It can be the difference between showing and telling.
Other items you should track down are the ‘he said/she said’ dialog tags or the overuse of tags. The dialog should be real and express the character’s feelings or mood at the time without you telling the reader how they should feel. A strongly stuctured sentence with an active verb will let the read know your intent. Again there are times that tags, action tags and tags that distinguish the speakers are needed. It’s a judgment call and the longer you write the more comfortable you’ll be in their proper usage. Remember nothing’s ever written in stone.
It’s your book, but it’s always wise to listen to your editor. You write for a living, they edit! They are your partners in the production of your book, not your enemy. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.
Next, especially as a new writer you need to examine your manuscript for frequent point of view (POV) changes. This is called head hopping and can pull a reader from a scene, thus your book, faster than a burning house. The rule of thumb that I’ve seen is one scene, one point of view (POV). I personally love head hopping, but only the most revered authors get away with it. I once said how I loved such and such an author, and the editor told me when I became her, I could get away with whatever I wanted. Lesson learned.
Lastly, examine you manuscript for repeated words within a sentence or paragraph. They are distracting and boring. Use a thesaurus to keep your readers engaged in the story.
A writer can get lost in the many ideas, rules and opinions on how a story should be written. I still say follow your heart and imagination. Along with a good editor your story will be readable, if not memorable. Remember to enjoy the process of writing and learning.