The greatest invention computers have given writers is the search and replace function in word processing programs. You can go through a 90,000-word manuscript and find all the times you wrote seems and just and very and all those other words that are weak and qualifying and lazy.
Most often you can delete them without adding replacement words, which also helps us in our constant battle of the word count.
In a recent post at Suzanne Lakin’s blog—Live Write Thrive—she talks about weak words. She reveals two phrases that will help you find these in your manuscript: it was and there were. Sure enough, I did a search of Rules for Giving and came across 139 instances of it was and 29 instances if there were. I don’t consider that bad for a manuscript of 110,000 words, but if I can cut half of those that is 150 fewer words. The writing will also be tighter.
Consider this sentence:
There were few instances I recall from that afternoon.
Delete there were and rearrange some words and you have:
I recall few instances from that afternoon
The sentence is stronger, more direct, and I go from nine words to seven words. I’ll make my word goal yet.
Anybody else have pet words or phrases they strive to delete from their manuscript? Let me know.
See ya’ later.