Not everyone reads, but everyone writes. Writing evolved from using a fountain pen and parchment paper to clunky typewriters to typing on computers. Even though we communicate electronically for the most part these days, the writing craft still calls for good grammar. Here’s a crash course in how to cut and polish your written words:
1. Tighten it up/cut the fluff. These two phrases say the same thing. Which one would you rather read? I like Vera Wang’s clothes because they’re pretty. I especially like their flattering cuts and they have my favorite things on them, like colorful prints and sparkles for the evening. Or, I favor designer Vera Wang’s clothes for their curve-friendly designs, use of vivid prints, and glamorous sequin and bead embellishments. I’m pretty sure you said the second one. Why? Because it’s clean and direct. It’s fine for first drafts to look like the first sentence, but go through and eliminate wordiness, run-on sentences and repetition.
2. Limit linking verbs. Linking verbs are the vanilla of writing; am, are, is , was, were, be, being, been, has, have, had. We need them, however, there are much more “vivid” verbs out there. Jason scored the most points in his last three basketball games carries more impact than Jason is the best basketball player on his team.
3. Know the difference. People often confuse these three pairs. They are not the worst offenses, but it’s impressive if you master their subtle differences.
- Recognize/realize. You recognize a person, place or thing (noun). You realize a fact. For example, Sheila recognized that cat as the neighbor’s or I didn’t realize that I bought the wrong flavor ice cream until I was halfway home.
- Persuade/convince. You persuade someone to do something. You convince someone to think or believe something. Larry can persuade anyone to loan him money vs. I couldn’t convince my friend that I was a police officer calling and my practical joke failed.
- Fewer/less. Fewer is for single quantities, like people, cookies, problems, and so on. Less is for clump quantities, like water, grass, lotion. There will always be “fewer people” but “less soup.”
Don’t forget to infuse as much personality into your writing as you please!
I’m pleased to announce the release of my 8th book, Skoll’s Diary.
Africans and African Americans left Earth in 1900, and went to another planet in The Milky Way to escape mistreatment…
It’s now the year 3005 on that terraformed planet. We get a peek into the life of a bright and sensitive teenaged boy, Skoll, through his journal. He loves his world, but is curious about life on Earth. Then suddenly, an epic event casts him in the middle of a difficult decision. The fate of the planet’s community is in his hands.
Get the book here. I’d appreciate your leaving a review if you read it. Thanks in advance!