1. Remove dialogue tags such as “said” – most of these are redundant or to put it another way, dialogue should speak for itself.
2. Delete weasle words such as:
- tried to…
3. Use positive terms, not negatives e.g. instead of “he didn’t come” write “he was absent”.
4. Use concrete nouns. Stay away from the abstract.
5. Remove as many words ending in -ly.
6. Remove as many -ing words as you can.
7. Construct “active” sentences – not passive. If you notice yourself writing something like, “he was thrown by the horse”, switch the sentence round to, “the horse threw him”.
8. Reduce the number of adjectives.
9. Avoid prepositional phrases.
10. Show don’t tell, that is, paint a picture, show me what you see, hear, feel and I’ll become you. If you don’t you’ll just bore me.
Print this small list off and I guarantee you this, by following these guidelines you’ll add zing to your writing.