Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tighten up your writing - Week 4

Three weeks of frightening words are behind us. We're now ready to tackle the major one, the big daddy of them all -

Ly words. I can't count the number of times my teachers would tell me to add descriptive words and I would fall on the ol' ly's. The sad part? They ate it up! It's not that they are evil or anything. But Stephen King in On Writing, says a good writer never uses an ly word.

I've tried to rid my writing of them but haven't been able to do it completely. :-) It is, however, something I'm continually working on.  (On a side note - if I used curse words in place of ly words, I could get rid of them all. I choose not to take that route.)

Let's take a look at an easy fix.

"Fera ran quickly from the room."

Why is this an easy fix? Because quickly is redundant. If you're going to run, you're going to do it quickly. Otherwise, pick another word; jogged, ambled, skipped and etc.

One more example...

"Fera wore an extremely large diamond."

You saw it, didn't you? Your inner editor screamed, "Huge - just type huge!!!" or gargantuan or empire or twenty other words that mean extremely large.

So that wraps up my mini-series on single word edits. I hope it's been helpful for you to take such a specific look at your word choice. Let me know if you've found your own naughty words. I am a firm believer in the power of words and even one word can have a gargantuan affect on your reader. Happy writing!

1 comment:

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Great tip. Those ly words can slip in so quickly. ;)