Ever since I started learning the craft of writing, I’ve heard “write tight.” I thought I understood what it meant and I thought I did what it said. I’ve sold several short stories, so I’m used to writing, well, short. But I recently became aware that I still have a tendency to use more words than necessary.
My characters don’t just sit or stand. They sit down. And then they stand back up. They don’t just turn. They turn around, then turn back around. Anyone dizzy yet?
And don’t think that I forgot all the words that are really so unnecessary. Grammar/spellcheck does not always know best. If the sentence reads well without a word, cut it.
There are all those teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy redundant words that pound in the point we’re trying to make. For that matter, we don’t need to try to make a point by pounding it in. We simply pound in the point, or make the point.
Use contractions when possible. When my characters are talking in my head, they are often emphasizing words that, once on the page, read better as contractions.
Sometimes we need to tighten up bigger writing issues than words. Our sentences can be repetitive. We’re saying the same thing in multiple ways. We’re beating a dead horse. We’re still pounding in that damn point.
I’m currently more aware of currently because a writer friend is currently using it too much. It’s rarely necessary.
I catch a lot of these in my writing now that I’m aware of them. But it helps to keep a list, so when editing, I don’t miss any.
So, do those Kegels when you’re writing. And when you’re editing, wear those tighty writies.