WORDS TO LEAVE OUT
These are words you don’t need 9 out of 10 times.
Example: She looked up at Sally. She looked at Sally.
Ex: He walked over to the door. He walked to the door.
As a freelance editor, I can’t tell you how many times, in how many manuscripts, I take out the ups, downs, arounds and overs. Pretty soon it feels like you’re directing traffic. Kill them. Save your justs, thens and seems for when you really need them.
Phrases you almost NEVER need:
If she smiles, where else is a smile going to be besides on her face? If we know she’s in the drawing room, where else is the chair she sits in going to be besides in the room? If she picks something up, how is she going to do it unless it is with her hands? If she doesn’t use her hands, if she uses her toes, for instance, or pliers, we need to know that.
|Of all time|
|In the world|
|Known to man|
|Be able to|
|In the house|
|In the room|
|On his/her face|
|More than/no more than/nothing more than|
|Go so far as|
|In her voice|
|Can’t help but|
|If you can leave a word out without changing the meaning of the sentence, do it. If you can read a sentence without missing the phrase, leave it out.
We know this list is incomplete. Please help us. Add the *leave out* words or phrases you find in the comments below. Thanks.
About The Author:
Five million copies of Alfie Thompson/Val Daniels 10 novels and 1 non-fiction book, Lights! Camera! Fiction! A Movie Lovers Guide to Writing a Novel have been sold in 29 languages and 32 countries. Her writing workshops have received high praise from audiences from New York City to Hawaii. Writing For The Reader, Creating the Magic that Creates Fans is the second in the series, Tips, Tricks and Tools of the Writing Trade. The first in the series is Point Of View, Understanding Which POV is the Best For Your Novel and Using it Effectively.