I’ve responded to this post with the thoughts and comments below. Share your own additions!
I agree on these issues! It’s amazing how many cuts I can find when I know I have to. And the result is almost always an improvement.
I especially have to catch redundancy. It’s a good tool for drafting, since you can try out six different ways of capturing a setting or an emotion. But then come back and pick the best one of the six!
A few points:
- Additional “filler” (or “filter”) words are “**She heard** the wind whistling through the trees” vs. “The wind whistled through the trees,” and “**She saw,**” which works similarly. These are so hard to catch.
- RE spell-check: Instead of turning off spell-check, turn off “autocorrect” functions. You will be notified of typos, but the computer will not try to guess what you really intended. I’ve seen some pretty crazy computer-supplied corrections!
- Also, grammar-checkers are notoriously poor substitutes for your own knowledge. The one on my Word program misidentifies fragments and rails against all kinds of style choices that work beautifully to establish voice.
- Finally, do give “older” books a chance, even if you know that these days, you don’t dare write in an older style. The Victorians, for example, lived in a slower age, but they wrote some of the most gripping fiction you’ll ever read.
This is an excellent article. I love when I learn something from these great websites! ❤
Take a look at these common creative writing mistakes and see which ones you’re making.