Monday, July 16, 2012

Go Ahead, Punch It!

Make it punchy. Have you ever heard that about your writing? In short, it means to tighten up a sentence and select words with “punch” rather that “fluff.” 

Of course, that’s easier said than done, but one idea is to take a selection of your work – a chapter, blog post or a couple pages of a short story – and circle the adverbs in red and the adjectives in blue.

Does your work resemble an American flag? Then you may be relying too heavily on adjectives and adverbs to do the work strong nouns and verbs can do. Our grade school English classes did us a disservice by requiring a certain number of words or pages so in typical 14-year-old fashion we added a bunch of adjectives and adverbs to get to the needed word count or page limit. Everything was suddenly “pretty,” “very” and “really.” And it was really very boring.

Look at the words you circled and work toward eliminating half of them. This means spending more time selecting the best word or series of words. It’s much harder to write tight, but short sentences pack a punch.

I’d love to hear your techniques for adding punch to your writing. 

1 comment:

  1. great advice, Holly.  Circling the words is a great tool to tighten up my writing.  thanks for the tip.