Editors and publishers demand tight writing. Anything less will be rejected. So aim to pack your ideas into compact sentences that make every word count.
Loose writing contains:
In a tight piece of work nothing can be removed without altering intent.
Tight writing is as important for businesses as for creative writers, except that customers, not editors, will reject poor writing. Consider these paragraphs, excerpted from the popular FlexJobs.com website:
I hope you find the revision clearer and easier to read after my edit. I reorganized slightly, removed redundancies and made it compact and precise.
Dont worry about accomplishing these goals in your first draft. You will make your writing tighter with each revision and consistent practice. So write your first draft, and then REVISE, REVISE, REVISE!
I've created four simple steps to make trimming the fat easier. If you'd like me to do it for you, please contact me to learn more.
1. Eliminate Extra Words
Tight writing aims for brevity, so combine sentences to remove repetition and to make your writing dense and compact. Look especially for the word "the" and remove as many as possible. In finding a way to remove them, you will necessarily tighten the rest.
In this example I eliminated 12 of 30 words by focusing on the two most important pieces of information--movers emptied their truck and Greta arranged her furniture. Maybe you can eliminate more words. Make a game of this. Resolve to cut each paragraph in half as you revise. Many new writers don't believe that a 50% reduction is possible, but you may be surprised.
For fun (yes I'm weird that way!), I reworked my first attempt to see if I could cut an additional three words, or a full 50% of the original. This last version imparts the message with the most precision and accuracy.
2. Choose Active Verbs
Note how, in the revision above, the movers "emptied" the truck. This change eliminates the passive verb construction were emptied. Restructuring sentences to name those taking action reduces wordiness and makes writing more interesting.
There are is another weak verb construction.
3. Resist Adverbs
Adverbs rarely add value to a sentence. They describe weak verbs. Choose stronger verbs, and ditch the adverb.
4. Be Specific
Tight writing avoids vague words such as thing or things. Specific words make the sentence more interesting.
When you reveal which items your character chooses, you also show his character. A character who packs a gun and a pair of leather gloves is more menacing than one who chooses his favourite notebook and several drawing pencils.
Search your writing for thing, something, and somehow. These are the usual culprits in vague writing.
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