Killing Weedy Words

Apologies for the Thursday post. I should have published this yesterday. But you are all too busy finishing your 60k novels this month to read blogs, right?

When NaNoWriMo ends in a few weeks, you’ll probably spend another month finessing plot, characterization, and setting, making your underlying themes gleam, unless you’re like me. Then you’ll spend another year.

After the big pieces are in the right places, then comes the time to clean up sentences. I like these examples from Highlights editor Kim Griswell:

Some words are like weeds: You should pull them out whenever you see them.

Some of her examples include useless adjectives, which we’ve heard a lot about. But I need to do a better job of watching out for prepositions. “Face your problems” sounds a lot snappier than “face up to your problems,” and “at this point in time” is a waste of words when you can say “now.”

Qualifiers should go, too. I felt sad when I saw this one on Kim’s list of noxious words: “Pretty much.” My characters say “pretty much” on pretty much every page.

How’s the crazy November writing madness going for everyone? (If I edited blog posts, I’d delete “crazy”—see, because “madness” means the same thing.)

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1 Comment

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One response to “Killing Weedy Words

  1. Sadly, I’ve been doing a lot more reading of blogs than writing this month. Worse, I think every word I HAVE written should be pulled immediately… but I’ll resist until I’ve finished the book. Sometime next year.