Following on from my last 2 posts about editing of a manuscript, I am covering a topic that I have found that I am the chief culprit and offender in. It is common words at the start of sentences and other examples of weak writing.
For example, I would say that over half of new dialogue in the fantasy faery tale I am editing start with one of the following five words:-
How exciting and dramatic is that?
This is not something to be concerned about as you write, but removing then during editing is essential to make the writing sharp and attention grabbing and not sending your readers to sleep.
My copy editor also pointed out that I use other words quite a lot. One of them, surprisingly perhaps, was “vast”. There were vast this’s and vast that’s and vast all sorts. It became boring for her to read through. This attention to detail and identification of “weak or repetitive patterns” is one of the key parts of proof reading and editing.
Some examples of the many types of weak writing are narrative passages that use phrases like “seems to be,” “appears to be,” or “maybe”. Why not just cut to the chase and say what IS actually happening. The writing will be more enthralling and the reader will know what is going on rather than have to guess.
Short and sweet today, but important nonetheless.