Nasty habits

I’ve discovered one nasty habit in my current draft. I find I write things like: he “started to” walk, he “started to” jog, or he “began to” stroll. Thankfully, I find it easy with Scrivener to search these phrases and change the phrase to “he walked”, “he jogged” or “he strolled”. Not bad – around 20 times in 80000 words! Still, 20 times too much.

Another habit is using hear/heard too much. Often I find if I reevaluate the sentence where the hear/heard appears I realize the situation calls for “listen” instead.

I also use cliches without even realising it. Did you know “hands on” is a cliche? Without I wouldn’t even know I wrote with these nasty flaws but with it, I am able to see and eliminate these faults.

Hopefully, eliminating these faults will tighten my writing and help my voice shine. Obviously, with all faults, I make a judgement call whether eliminating the faults improves my story before I make changes.

Getting rid of adverbs

I use a program called Scrivener, and it highlights the problems in my writing. One of my weaknesses are adverbs. When I first write a scene, they help describe the scene. In a first draft that’s fine because as Terry Prachett said: “The first draft is just telling yourself the story”.

I find Scrivener highlights the adverbs in my writing enables to see the problem areas. Highlighted, the adverbs stand out. either, I replace the adverbs with a more apt description and stretch my imagination. A rewarding task. Or I can delete because to delete declutters my words and makes my intending meaning clear. Also, a rewarding task. Either way, I consider whether the adverb is essential. On the rare occasion, it stays.