Fixing ‘Wasy’ Wording

Challenge yourself to create more vivid writing.

I appreciate the advice from children’s writer Christian Harder Tangvald: “Circle every is and was on your manuscript; you don’t want writing that’s “isy” and “wasy.”

So I checked each use of was while I edited the 60,000-word YA novel. It started with 942. I cut that to 786.

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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.

Perilous Pairs

Will you — or your editor — know to pick the right word?

The sentence in a recently written Sherlock Holmes story stopped me cold.

“There were besides some more mundane elements: drafting tables laden with dusty blueprints, labels and vices and tools, chains for heavy lifting suspended from the ceiling.”

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