|Posted by LEKokko on March 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM|
Trimming the fat
We live in a culture obsessed with living healthy. More people frequent health spas and gyms than ever before. Gym memberships are a nineteen BILLION dollar industry with over 45 million members as of 2008 and growing.
Spin classes are wildly popular for all ages.
Just like the need to trim our body fat, us writers need to trim the fat in our stories. We are all guilty of being wordy at times, especially when the muse is shouting ideas at us so fast we can hardly keep up.
I envy my fellow authors that seem to spit out prose at an impressive rate and all of it with not so much as 1% of body fat. How, I ask myself, can they do this super heroic feat?
I know the answer, as I suspect do you; practice and experience. An athlete gets good at her sport by practicing. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t win Mister Universe except by exercising the right muscles and learning as much as he could about the human muscular system. Likewise, we cannot learn to trim the fat from our writing except through practice, experience, exercising our minds, and learning, as much as we can about our craft.
The first problem area we need to address is wordiness. Like practicing good eating habits, learning to say in few words where we tend to get long winded.
Here are just a few examples from each grammatical grouping starting with nouns and verbs.
The field of mathematics can be changed to just mathematics
The level of intelligence rose can be intelligence rose
You can get rid of these:
The amount of
The area of
The (just about anything) of
Do an analysis of the results can be changed to analyze the results
Usually verbs that start with do, have, is, make, provide, and serve can usually have these words removed.
Phrase containing the clauses; that is, who are, that are can likewise have these clauses omitted.
Phrases which start with It is, It was, or It will be can have them removed.