Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Don’t think–do!

My first drafts contain a lot of wishy-washy sentences like this: “Jura seemed to shrink back into his chair.” When writing, I (and many other people, apparently) equivocate a lot. “It looked like something might be going on behind the wall.” This fluffy writing doesn’t stick out, but it creates an overall impression of fuzziness; you’re obscuring the action. Better: “Jura shrank back into his chair.” “Something was going on behind the wall.”

Do a search through your manuscript for “seem,” “might,” and “thought.” Do they really need to be there? Everything in editing is about making the manuscript better at conveying the ideas behind the words. Don’t obscure them with wishy-washy words.

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One response to “Don’t think–do!

  1. Rikoshi August 19, 2006 at 7:40 am

    I am quite guilty of exactly this. Thanks for reminding me to do said combover with my own drafts!

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