Tighten Up Your Prose

During your writing process, you probably free write, then go back and self edit.

One of the things you can look for when you edit your writing is wordiness. Look for redundancy. A common redundancy is “very unique.” I wonder if something can be sort of unique or a little unique. Probably not.

Another example of redundancy is “last January during the winter.” During the winter doesn’t pin down the time the way last January does, but you don’t need both in the same sentence.

Another thing you can look for when you edit your writing is word choice. If you like big words, but your reader has to keep a dictionary handy to understand your writing, you should consider substituting shorter words.

Finally, when you self-edit, make sure you’re not babbling–using vague words that you think sound intellectual or professional. You won’t impress your reader and you may blow your chance to be published.

The place to be wordy is your first draft. After that, get rid of the redundancy, the big words, and anything that erodes your clarity to your reader. Self-editing isn’t easy, but worth the effort.

Happy writing!

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1 Response to “Tighten Up Your Prose”


  1. 1 Scott Speed July 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Thank you for this blog! It is very informative for an aspiring author like myself.

    Scott


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