Posted by: nancycurteman | October 4, 2015

7 Ways to Make Your Writing Clear and Concise

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akillerideaGood writing is clear and concise and gets to the point. It uses the fewest possible words without sacrificing meaning. Here are seven strategies to help improve your writing:

Remove clichés. These overused expressions are unnecessary and only take up space. If you can remove clichés and still make your point, do it. Phrases like the following add nothing to your novel:  innocent as a lamb, following the footsteps of, sacred cow, save for a rainy day, no skin off my nose.


Practice brevity. If you can say it in fewer words, do it.
Wordy: Based on my many past experiences as a recipient of her invitation I have been aware of his presence.
Better: Every time she invites me, he’s there.

Eliminate redundancies. A redundancy is an unnecessary repetition. It’s saying the same thing more than once, sometimes in a different way but still boringly repetitious.
Redundant: You have to get rid of that dog. That dog has to go. No more dog.
Better:         Get rid of the dog.

Choose concise nouns:
Not:                                           But:

youth                                       juvenile, child, teenager
woman                                    mistress, matron, femme fatale
house                                      mansion, castle, cabin, cottage

Use vivid verbs to create clear images:

Not:                            But:

Leave behind              abandon
Light up                      ignite
Said                            screamed
Walked                        trudged

Choose simple words:
Not:                                        But:

has the capacity to                  can
on the occasion of                   when
in reference to                         about

Eliminate modifiers that do not enhance meaning such as:
very, actually, quite, really, much, totally, already

With careful editing and an eye for simplicity and brevity you can write a clear and concise novel that will enable your readers to enjoy your story rather than stumble through a mountain of unnecessary verbiage.

Revising and Rewriting a Novel is no Mystery
Writing Craft Rules: Never Say Never
5 Elements of Writing Craft

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