Improving Writing

“…Brevity is the soul of wit…”–William Shakespeare
Indeed. It’s also the soul of good writing.
I own to failure in this respect; my plots meet my standards, my writing does not. Simply put, my prose is ‘fat’. It contains too many words, too much repetition, redundant words, phrases, even sentences. We owe it to our readers to do better.
I’m sure you writers have heard similar advice. If you haven’t, you haven’t studied the art and craft of writing nearly as much as you should, but at least I’m willing to share what I’ve learned. I’m going to give concrete examples.
I just finished editing The Trek for Audiobook production (it will be available in about a month). Taking a break, I began reading a series by Evan Currie (recommended; he’s good!) and noticed many of my mistakes in his books. They’re probably in yours too.

Names: don’t repeat too often. Often, ‘he’ or ‘she’ or ‘they’ will work just as well and improve flow.

‘That’ is used FAR too often. You can often remove it without changing the sentence’s meaning in the slightest. Try it; read a sentence, read it again without ‘that’ and see for yourself.

‘to ….’; you can usually replace this with a better choice. Rearrange the sentence, use an active verb.

‘of them’ or ‘of us’. Redundant, usually.

‘all’; redundant. Try eliminating it.

So there you have my observations, taken from my own writing. Look critically at yours; you may find the same mistakes or mistakes unique to you.
Grammar is the writer’s toolbox, and among Indie writers too many of us have allowed our tools to rust or become dull.
I’m sharpening mine; how about you?

 

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2 thoughts on “Improving Writing

  1. I am a kindle unlimited reader. I read about a book in a day or two. I have read most of The New Frontiers series, all of the Darwin series and am working on finishing the Wizard series. I maintain a data base of all the book I read and rank the books on a scale of 1-5 (1 is the best). So far the Darwin series are all 1, the New Frontiers are 3 so far, and the Wizards so far are 2. My comments are from your own words:
    Too many words, too much repetition, redundant words, phrases, even sentences. All true.
    “Names: don’t repeat too often”. In fact more repetition is needed. I found myself often having to go back several paragraphs to find who is speaking.

    1. Those are problems I’m trying to correct. My later books show how much I’ve learned from making all those mistakes myself.
      As for the Darwin Series, I’m working on the final book now, Defending Eden. I thought the other two series were done too, but I’ve got a Wizards and a New Frontiers book int he planning stages.
      They’re different; some like one series but not others, because something in the ones they prefer appeals to them.
      Invariably, the first novel in a series has a lower rating than later ones. Go figure. Too much background before I start?
      You mentioned the Wizards being rated 2; I won’t argue because it’s your honest opinion, honestly expressed. But the fifth book, Siberian Wizard, has been out for a while now and on Goodreads it’s a solid 5 over nine reviews, all there are so far.
      Thanks for writing. If you got something from my blog posts, great; that was my intention.
      Apologies for not replying sooner. That’s another problem I’m working on.

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