We all have bad habits when we write which are hard to break because we don't know what they are until we hear the criticism. The good news is, there are simple things you can keep in mind whilst you're writing to bring back the clarity and sharpen up your prose.
Use metaphors, similes and analogies sparingly, but if you really must use one, pick a metaphor over the other two.
Forget cliches. No squeaky clean. No trips down memory lane. No sleeping like a log. Or springing into life. It's really hard when they roll so nicely off the tongue...!
Use the past tense rather than "would".
Every day she would run through the park.
Every day she ran through the park.
Avoid weak words like appeared to or seemed to.
The man appeared to be shocked.
The man was shocked.
Cut out unnecessary adverbs. He ran quickly. If you're running, you're moving fast and the reader knows that. Only include the adverb if there's something about the action the reader needs to know.
Show, don't tell. Emotions can be conveyed through the character's actions.
Angered, Martha sat down at the table and started writing furiously.
Martha sat down at the table and started writing furiously.
Don't use passive sentences.
There was a dog barking in the background Vs The dog was barking in the background.
There were cats crying for food Vs The cats cried for food.
He was to be elected Vs He was elected.
And this is my favourite one and something I am consciously working on whilst writing my new novel: Using your five senses to bring a scene alive - the setting, the characters, the pace.
Don't just describe what your character is seeing, hearing, smelling. Don't just describe the physical and obvious aspects of a setting. Put the emotion into your writing. Make your readers feel it.
The best books I have read (and the ones I'll always remember) are the books that made me feel something. Right off the bat I can tell you I laughed my way through India Knight's "Don't you want me?" and I cried my heart out through Danielle Steel's "Lightning".
Using these suggestions to tighten up your writing will make the words come alive on the page and enhance the reader's experience.
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Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.