Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Simplifying Your Writing Style
Consider the following when revising your work:
1. Use uncomplicated language.
Using simple words (whether verbs, nouns or adjectives) help you avoid ambiguity. Try to use less sophisticated words and more readily understandable ones.
2. Cut down long sentences.
Divide a long sentence into two or more shorter sentences. By doing so, you’ll keep the meaning clear. However, you must examine and decide how to keep a balance between short sentences with longer ones, as well as how to use sentence variety.
3. Avoid redundancies.
This is a major faux-pas in writing. Redundancies can be tiring, not to mention “amateurish”.
4. Trim unnecessary qualifiers.
Using qualifiers in excess diminishes the essence of your story (A qualifier is word or phrase that precedes an adjective or adverb, increasing or decreasing the quality signified by the word it modifies, e.g., very, quite, rather, somewhat, more, most, less, least, too, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, fairly, really, pretty, even, a bit, a little, a (whole) lot, a good deal, a great deal, kind of, sort of.)
5. Use active voice.
Active voice helps the story move along faster. The passive voice slows it down by using too many words. Consider the sentences: She unwrapped the gift, vs. The gift was unwrapped by her.
6. Go easy on the adjectives.
Too many adjectives can be cumbersome and distracting.
7. Limit the use of the verb “BE”.
Using any form of the verb “be” can slow the action. Use action verbs instead.
8. Use parallel forms.
Parallel structure is using two or more words, phrases, or clauses that are similar in length and grammatical form. Elements alike in function should be alike in construction.