Revisions Coaching, From Albert Einstein. Writing Time, Part 87

“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – attributed
to Albert Einstein.

When revising, it can be worth spending a half hour with the word “As” at the start of sentences. I search through my own work, tossing “As”es into hedges, for it is the slug in gardens of good storytelling, when it involves simultaneous actions.

For example, “As I walked down the hallway, I looked about me.” This sentence structure, with two things happening at once, makes readers stumble slightly.

More Time Travel Words

Other time travel words to search and remove as frequently as possible (remembering Einstein’s quote, at the top of this page):

After, before, later, then, and next.

And for a professional glow…

…remove as many of these as possible :

looked

thought

ran

Personal Style Sheet

Like best-dressed movie stars, we writers are wise to have a personal style sheet to hand.. Along with reminders re italicizing and capitalization, I keep a list of words I tend to overuse. It’s a bit embarrassing, like showing you the cupboard under my kitchen sink. But, if it’s useful, here is an evolving list:

  • Too many em dashes
  • Although
  • Just
  • Thought
  • Ran
  • Must
  • Turned
  • Saw that
  • Looked at
  • Of course
  • !
  • Snapped
  • Sighed
  • Later that….
  • The next
  • That same
  • Really
  • Thought hard
  • Pretty
  • ;
  • Then
  • After, especially look at the order of events

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel


If you’re a fan of Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, you might enjoy her pocket-sized writing guide The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.

From Pulp Literature Press

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