I’ve just finished the third draft of my work in progress–(which, since you ask, is a dystopian science fiction novel) and among my goals was homing in on wordiness.
In third drafts, I bear down on sentences and paragraphs. Not only to smooth them out, but with an eye to brevity. I eliminated 11 pages worth of sentences and paragraphs. Because writing better often means shorter. As in these examples:
Passive voice. I believe there are times when passive voice is excellent. Just not very often, since it is like sand in the gas tank. Don’t need it, and it does damage. TRY: A computer search for the word was (and were):
- Each branch was talking. vs: Each branch spoke.
- Entering the hall, she noted that he was not at his usual sentry duty. vs: Entering the hall, she noted his absence from sentry duty.
Saying things twice. As in stringing together clauses that repeat the thought. “She
was restless, couldn’t sit still or keep her mind on the lecture.” This is first draft stuff. Cut, cut, (I told myself.) Read More…