Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know some of you don’t like snow, but on a gloomy, rainy, Pennsylvania Monday, I’m looking forward to the mountains turning a shimmering white on December 25. As little J. P. would say in Angels in the Outfield, “It could happen!” Even if you don’t care for snow, you have to admit, there’s a certain beauty about it that you don’t find in spring, summer, or fall. Anyway . . .
Be sure to check out the updated Featured Excerpt. This week it’s from Lawrence Hebb’s series, Spaceship Earth. He has some good thoughts, and as always, good writing. The new question is up, and I’m witing for answers, too.
How about some thoughts on overused words. These ideas were expressed on ProWritingAid.com, and I found them very useful. There are so many bad habits we can fall into. Or maybe, at times, we don’t even realize they’re bad. So here’s my two cents for this week –
#1: Words with indefinite meanings can be overused with no real purpose.
Words like “could”, “might” and “maybe” are indefinite in their meaning. If your writing contains a lot of these indecisive words, it will feel flimsy.
#2: If you’ve been writing for more than six months, then you know to show, not tell, but often we overuse words that only tell, not show.
Words like “knew”, “felt” and “saw” are examples of “telling” rather than “showing.” Writing should be evocative, so if you’re using too many “telling” words your work will be less strong.
#3: Depending On Intensifiers can cause an overuse of words. And they add little to your writing.
Intensifiers like “very”, “so” and “really” add little to your reader’s understanding. Instead, replace your weak words with a word strong enough that you don’t need an intensifier.
#4: Nonspecific Words
If someone tells you a book is “interesting”, that tells you almost nothing about the content of the book. When possible, choose words that have precise meanings and talk about specifics.
I think your writing will be cleaner and more consise. The problem is being aware of what makes good writing good when you’re writing – try that three times fast. As we grow, eventually these things will become habit and you can move on to another step to improve your writing – just some things to think about.
Well, here’s hoping you all get a ton of snow for Christmas! See you next week.