Sep 302010
 

Oh boy. Everyone should read this, read it again, memorize it, memorize it again, print it and paste on the wall of every room in the house.

Writerisms and other Sins: A Writer’s Shortcut to Stronger Writing.

  12 Responses to “Writerisms and other Sins: A Writer’s Shortcut to Stronger Writing”

  1. This is the best part:
    CHERRYH’S LAW: NO RULE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED OFF A CLIFF.

  2. This is great!

  3. All I can say is fantastic.

  4. Great–especially the who vs. whom dilemma.

    I have a “word kill list” with approx 80 overly used words–it’s very helpful too. It was passed along by a recent VCFA grad. If anyone wants a copy, let me know.

  5. Word Kill List

    Maybe you have used some of the words listed below in your writing. None of them are grammatically “illegal” and, in some cases, remain the correct or best choice (e.g.: and at the end of a list). However, these culprits likely weaken your language, or much worse—steal punch from your story or poem.

    Using the find function in a word processor, challenge yourself to search these words out. Can you recast the sentence to eliminate any of these words using a dictionary or thesaurus? Do you find stronger language as a result? Do you see habits or patterns in your work regarding these words?

    • a bit
    • a little
    • a lot
    • about
    • actually
    • almost
    • already
    • and
    • appears
    • approximately
    • are
    • back
    • basically
    • be (after–ing)
    • can’t
    • close to
    • could
    • don’t
    • down
    • even
    • eventually
    • exactly
    • fairly
    • feel
    • felt
    • finally
    • got
    • gotten
    • had
    • had been
    • here
    • highly
    • instead
    • is
    • isn’t
    • it
    • just
    • just then
    • kind of
    • mostly
    • nearly
    • now
    • of the
    • out
    • practically
    • pretty
    • quite
    • rather
    • really
    • returned
    • seemed
    • seems
    • simply
    • slightly
    • so
    • somehow
    • somewhat
    • sort of
    • suddenly
    • that
    • then
    • there
    • to be
    • to the
    • truly
    • up
    • utterly
    • very
    • was
    • won’t
    • would

    My Own List of Words to Kill

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  6. The blanks are for words the individual writer overuses. One of mine was “good”. Another was “interesting.” I was surprised when I discovered I’d relied so heavily on such meaningless words….

  7. Maybe we could do a mini-contest using only these words..write a short story using this list?

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