Must You Write Tightly?

Don’t try this in your initial draft.

Forget tight writing and let your book’s first draft flow. Then practice tight editing. As Strunk & White advise in The Elements of Style, retain only those words that earn their keep. No freeloaders.

In the process you’ll find many candidates for deletion.

  • Replace adverb and adjective phrases with vigorous verbs and evocative nouns.
  • Zap empty expressions, such as “for the purpose of” and “in order to.”
  • Shrink redundant constructions, such as “she nodded her head in agreement.”
  • Reword pretentious terms.
  • Derail longs strings of prepositional phrases.

You’ll see two benefits. No longer will you struggle to meet tight word counts. And with no excess words clogging your prose, your writing will sing.

Fewer words, better words. Everyone wins.

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About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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