My first tip is simply this: economise with your words. Since wordiness is my own number-one fault as an author, this is my number-one tip. Reread your writing and ask yourself: which words can I do without? Which phrases can be condensed? Could I replace an adjective/noun combination with a more descriptive noun? Or an adverb/verb combination with a more powerful verb? Trim the fat from your writing to make it concise, punchy and compelling.
This was my first draft of the above paragraph:
Be economical with your words. This is my number one tip because wordiness is a fault that I’m prone to, and so I must always be on my guard against using unnecessary words. Don’t overdo the adjectives. Instead of using an adjective/noun combination, try using a more descriptive noun, and instead of using an adverb with a verb, use a more powerful verb. Reread everything you’ve written and ask yourself: which words can I do without? Which phrases can be condensed? If you can trim the fat from your writing, your prose will be tighter, more punchy and more compelling.
I could probably trim this further. Have a go at improving it yourself!
About this blog
Through my experience as an editor, a reader and a book reviewer, I’ve noticed that some writing faults keep just popping up again and again. As an author, I’m especially aware of those writing crimes that I’m frequently tempted to commit myself. This series of brief tips addresses the common writing problems that I’ve encountered. Following them will help make your writing clear, accurate and stylish.