January 12, 2007, Newsletter Issue #93: Tight, clean prose

Tip of the Week

Edit your prose--the individual words and sentences--so that each line is tight and clean. ALL words must be relevant, well-chosen, and evocative. Working words, in other words. Comb your story for words which, standing alone, say or add nothing. Scan for cliche´s and trite-sounding language. Verbs should be active, adjectives descriptive, and adverbs nearly always absent.

The rule of thumb for line-editing is this: the simplest word that still conveys your meaning is best. Anything fluffier is just getting in the way

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