As writers, we like words, don’t we? We like the way they sound. We like stringing them together in long, elaborate sentences. We work hard to make our words say what we mean.
Sometimes, we work too hard. Sometimes, we just need to say what we mean and get out of our own way–and out of the way of the words themselves.
Today’s lesson has to do with cutting the fat and streamlining your writing in a way that enables the reader’s eyes to keep moving. You don’t want your readers to get bogged down in mucky, wordy sentences. Let’s give them some solid ground.
Consider the following fat sentences and the revisions I recommend:
ventolin evohaler asthma inhaler bnisb cheapest ORIGINAL: I came up with the idea the second I noticed Megan hesitating. REVISION: I came up with the idea when Megan hesitated. OR The second that Megan hesitated, I came up with the idea. [Editor’s note: if you leave “that” out of the second option, it reads a little bit like there are two Megans.]
ORIGINAL: When I walked in the room, I noticed Sam looking at me. REVISION: When I walked in the room, Sam looked at me.
ORIGINAL: At the very top of the mountain, I noticed a blinking white light. REVISION: At the very top of the mountain is a blinking white light. OR I saw a blinking white light at the top of the mountain.