Writer's tools, writing, word list, transition words, RWA, MRW, Midwest Romance Writers, writing craft

WORDS TO LEAVE OUT
These are words you don’t need 9 out of 10 times.
Example: She looked up at Sally. She looked at Sally.
Ex: He walked over to the door. He walked to the door.
As a freelance editor, I can’t tell you how many times, in how many manuscripts, I take out the ups, downs, arounds and overs. Pretty soon it feels like you’re directing traffic. Kill them. Save your justs, thens and seems for when you really need them.

All
Each
Up
Even
Here
Seems
Through
From
Just
For
Around
That
Over
Down
Along
Be
Only
Surely
Yet
Suddenly
Comes
Away
Out
Though
Feel
Very
Against
Ever
Already
Very

Phrases you almost NEVER need:
If she smiles, where else is a smile going to be besides on her face? If we know she’s in the drawing room, where else is the chair she sits in going to be besides in the room? If she picks something up, how is she going to do it unless it is with her hands? If she doesn’t use her hands, if she uses her toes, for instance, or pliers, we need to know that.

Of all time
In the world
Known to man
All but
He/she knew
At least
Be able to
In the house
In the room
On his/her face
More than/no more than/nothing more than
Go so far as
In her voice
Can’t help but

If you can leave a word out without changing the meaning of the sentence, do it. If you can read a sentence without missing the phrase, leave it out.

We know this list is incomplete. Please help us. Add the *leave out* words or phrases you find in the comments below. Thanks.

About The Author:
Five million copies of Alfie Thompson/Val Daniels 10 novels and 1 non-fiction book, Lights! Camera! Fiction! A Movie Lovers Guide to Writing a Novel have been sold in 29 languages and 32 countries. Her writing workshops have received high praise from audiences from New York City to Hawaii. Writing For The Reader, Creating the Magic that Creates Fans is the second in the series, Tips, Tricks and Tools of the Writing Trade. The first in the series is Point Of View, Understanding Which POV is the Best For Your Novel and Using it Effectively.

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Comments on: "WORDS TO LEAVE OUT (by Alfie Thompson)" (7)

  1. Reblogged this on oh brother, here we go again and commented:
    Very good writing advice here that my eyes read and my ears heard, and that I’d known but my mind had forgotten. You get the idea. 🙂

  2. Loved this post ladies! Any help on editing is ALWAYS appreciated!
    Diane

  3. Alfie – my personal favorite ‘that’ somehow missed your incredibly helpful list. Thank you for your wisdom!

  4. julieinkc said:

    Incredibly helpful – hardly surprising! Thanks for your wisdom, Alfie!

  5. Thank you for such great advice. Your list is a tool I’ll keep by my computer.

  6. Julie, couldn’t believe I’d missed ‘that’. Thank heavens it’s there. Twelfth on the list. These are in no particular order–except the order I thought of them or came across them in manuscripts. If they were in order, THAT would be a whole lot closer to the top.

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