14 Examples on How to Sharpen Your Sentences (reblogged)

Pic picked up right from Jenni with an “i

Cheeky, cheeky writer Jenni Wiltz finished a draft and all she could think of is “word bloat!” Who hasn’t been there? But Jenni is not one to sit and ponder for long. After some serious line-editing, she shares her takeaway from this process in an excellent blog post I had to share. What drew me to her site? Her clever tagline:

“They say modern writers need a “platform.” I have plenty of these in the closet, but apparently they aren’t the right kind.”

So, without further ado, here’s Jenni for you 🙂

_______________________________________________

I just finished the third draft of a book that’s going to take at least five drafts to finish. The biggest problem until now was sheer word bloat. I knew I couldn’t make the additions the book needs until I made a buttload of subtractions. Imagine trying to evaluate the health of a garden when it’s so full of weeds and overgrown shrubbery you can’t see a single stalk or bloom. All you know is there’s an awful lot of green shit underfoot.

To hack away at that green shit, I focused on sentence-level editing. This meant fixing (or deleting) things like:

  • Sentences that use imprecise verbs or descriptions
  • Sentences that convey the same information in two different ways
  • Bloated sentences with filler words like “just,” “only,” “that,” etc.

This is no small task. And a lot of writers never do it.

These days, a popular piece of advice for self-published writers is to PUBLISH AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, LIKE, A MILLION WORDS A YEAR AND IF YOU DON’T NO ONE WILL EVER DISCOVER YOUR WORK LET ALONE BUY IT AND YOU’LL NEVER MAKE A DIME AND THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROVE YOU’RE REALLY COMMITTED.

This strategy might work for some people, but I’m not one of them. For starters, I don’t see how it’s possible to publish that quantity of words that have been edited and polished to perfection. As Miracle Max said in The Princess Bride, “You rush a miracle man, you get a rotten miracle.”

How to Look at Revision: Don't Rush Your Miracle.

For the spot-on examples right from Jenni’s own manuscript, click here for the rest of the article.

When you’re done, come back here to learn about

The 4 Elements of a click-worthy title” and what to do

When beta readers come with an agenda

and if you don’t want to miss any posts, just subscribe on the upper left corner.

Thank you for reading!

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