Or, to give it a more positive slant: make every word a strong one.
Some words need to be approached with caution! My least favourite word is ‘several’.
Honestly, if someone tells you there are several people in the room, can you picture the scene exactly? Are there four people or twenty? Or what about this one: ‘Several moments passed before she spoke’. OK, so how long is a moment? Multiply that undefined moment by the ambiguous number ‘several’ and you’ve got … how long? Be specific and be firm.
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.