> Shorten really loooong sentences.
> Make verbs stronger. As a general rule, "to be" verbs are weak: am, are, is, was, were, etc. Examples of strong verbs: argue, demand, coach, recommend, presume, tackle, break, sang, grow . . .
> Eliminate unnecessary words. Example: He squinted his eyes as he looked up into the sky.
Ask yourself: What can be taken out of this sentence?
Answer: First, what else but his eyes would he squint? Second, we all know the sky is up, why state that?
Sentence rework: He squinted as he looked into the sky.
> Remove extra backstory and too much explanation. Starting with a lot of backstory dulls the impact of your novel. Have faith in your readers--they do not need every minute detail to understand the story.
> Show, don't tell. "Telling" versus "showing" is automatically seen as a beginner mistake.Example: John was nervous as he asked Susan to go out on the date.
Ask yourself: How can I show John's nervousness?
Rewrite to show nervousness versus telling: John's face turned a brilliant shade of red as he approached Susan. His voice quivered, "Can I take you to dinner on Saturday?"
For more tips, preview Self-Editing & Revision: Straightforward Tips to Significantly Improve Your Writing >