Annie On Writing

January 22, 2011

Self Editing Tips – 1# – Turf the Non Descript.

Filed under: Articles From write anything,Writing Tips — Annie Evett @ 12:01 am
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Mac OS X trash icon when it contains files.
Turf or Trash those rubbish words

This article first appeared over at Write Anything.

Editing and redrafting opens ones eyes to all the lazy, flabby words we are all guilty of using.  I’d like to share a tip in tightening up your work and perhaps you might like to add a few more in the comments.

Turf the non-descript words. These are boring, ‘nothing’ words such as ‘nice’ and ‘beautiful’.

Go through the text and on a separate sheet of paper or on a document, list the words as you find them and detail what they are actually supposed to be describing.

A nice person, A nice car? It can mean a myriad of things. Does ‘nice’ mean the personality, the colour, the comfort rating?

A beautiful day, a beautiful girl? We all have different tastes and preferences. I love the soft rain which gently kisses your face in England. I love listening to the pelting torrent on a Queenslander roof. Others don’t enjoy the rain. What is a beautiful day?  What time of day is it?   Does the girl have blond or dark hair?  Short or tall? Heavy set, athletic or slender? Beauty? What’s that constitute exactly?

Non-descript words rob your writing of what makes it unique – your description, flavour and observations. So start to tighten up your work by turfing those rubbish ‘nothing’ words..

Image via Wikipedia


1 Comment »

  1. Another “non” word is ‘very’. I purge it whenever I can.

    e.g. If something is ‘very loud’, I change it to ‘deafening’. A simple change but it really adds punch to something that was bland.


    Comment by Nina — January 23, 2011 @ 2:22 am | Reply

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