Tighten Your Writing

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Image by Brenda Anderson via Flickr

Sometimes, words get in the way of good writing. Pet phrases creep in. Descriptions become complicated and adjectives and adverbs run wild. Tame the words and simplify your revision process by tightening your writing on the fly. Use these ideas to find and eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.

Two-for-ones: adjectives and adverbs

On a shopping spree, getting two for one is a steal. When writing, it means excess adverb and adjective baggage in your sentences. Trim the extras to tighten your prose.

Jacob walked away quickly –> Jacob  sped away.
Her eyes were shiny and bright –> Her eyes sparkled.

Filler words: 

Do-nothing words  in your writing  fill space, but add nothing. Some common fillers to add to your watch list include:

There are/was/were/etc.


Like adjectives and adverbs, wordy phrases use multiple words when one or two could do the same job. Find and simplify phrases like these:

Pointed out (reminded)
Came to a halt (stopped)
Due to the fact (because)
Came to an end (concluded)
In the event (if)
More than/less than (almost)

Learning to monitor your writing for excess words won’t eliminate revisions, but it will cut the amount of time you spend doing them.

3 comments on “Tighten Your Writing

  1. *sigh*

    I’ve been fighting “very” and “just” for just about as long as I’ve been writing. I’m very sure that will never change. 🙂

  2. […] Tighten Your Writing (barbaratyler.wordpress.com) […]

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