“Vigorous writing is concise.”
—William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style
What else but your eyes can you blink, what else but your legs and feet can you kick with, and what else but your head ever nods? If those three things are true, should you ever write a sentence like:
Galen blinked his eyes, but still couldn’t see past the hazy curtain of smoke.
But inexperienced writers do it all the time. Heck, experienced writers do it, too. But one thing I can almost guarantee you is that if you pay attention to the rest of these examples, you’ll become sensitized to this dumb but common little mistake, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll join me in helping to make it go away.
Her eyes blinded by tears, Bronwyn fired an arrow into the black smoke.
Good thing we know it was her eyes that were blinded. I might have thought her nose was blinded, or her kneecap. Oh, wait, no, only your eyes can be blinded, really, right, so what if we just removed the first two words from that sentence?
Blinded by tears, Bronwyn fired an arrow into the black smoke.
The new sentence says precisely the same thing, but without the unnecessary language.
The next sentence . . .
Read the rest in…
Editor and author Philip Athans offers hands on advice for authors of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and fiction in general in this collection of 58 revised and expanded essays from the first five years of his long-running weekly blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilAthans…
Link up with me on LinkedIn…
Friend me on GoodReads…
Find me at PublishersMarketplace…
Or contact me for editing, coaching, ghostwriting, and more at Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.