I’ve been rewriting more than writing lately. In fact I’m becoming a better re-writer than writer, but that’s a good thing. I’ll take lessons learned into future writing projects and be more careful about letting the same mistakes slip out.
Here are my biggest offenders this time around:
- Overused Words: Try plugging these words into Word’s search feature and see them light up your page: look, maybe, hear/heard.
- Repeated sentence starts. The writing flows smoothly for quite a few pages when suddenly there will be a series of sentences starting out with the same word like “I” or “The”. A boring style of writing. Rewrite.
- Redundancies. When one word instead of two will do the trick, go for it. For example, I wrote “The reason why my dad…” I dropped the “why” and it made for a more fluid sentence. Need other examples? Here’s 200 more. If you have a brief moment, take a look … Whoops, I mean If you have a moment, take a look.
- Sentences and paragraphs that don’t move the plot forward. They’re some of my favorites but they have to be removed or the reader gets lost in unnecessary side journeys. Is this what “Kill the darlings” means?
- Read your first page and last page. Do they connect? Mine was not quite there until an early morning rewrite took care of that deficiency.
I hope these tips help you get closer to the light at the end of the tunnel – your completed book .
If you are not in the rewriting mode and would prefer a contest, here’s a good one from Highlights Magazine. 800 words or less on a holiday theme. Two winners get $1000 each. The only cost to enter is a stamp on a postmarked envelope by January 31st.