Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Seek And You Shall Find

Today, I thought I'd share two quick tricks you can use to strengthen your manuscript. (And by strengthen, I mean move your writing from ho-hum to WOW!)

To do this, you'll need the following:

*An arsenal of active verbs at your disposal

*The "edit" tab in your Word document.

Here's what you do:

1. Go under "edit" to "find."

2. Initiate a "find" for the word "that."

3. Remove most of them. The rule of thumb is this: If the sentence is complete without "that", take it out.

4. Go back to "edit" and "find."

5. Initiate a "find" for the word "was."

6. Evaluate carefully whether the "was" (which often indicates passive voice and always indicates the weaker "to be" verb structure) is absolutely necessary. If you can rearrange your sentence to insert an action verb in its place, do so.

That's it. It takes some time to comb through your manuscript, especially if you're fond of "that" and "was," but your writing will be so much stronger when you're finished. =)


  1. Awesome. I need to do this.

    *laughs* I also always have to do a find for "though" - I have no idea why I use that word so much.


  2. My personal bane is "just." I swear, I could work it into just about every sentence if you just give me half a chance.

  3. I know just what you mean, though I'm getting better at it.


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