I like the image above because it’s so simple, clean, and concise–all great outcomes of the revising process.
Writing soars with strong verbs, but falls flat with overused, weak, or passive language. In the writing workshop I’ll be leading next month, I’m going to focus one session on eliminating three words from writing:
is (all forms of to be)
I knew, before reading Telling Writing by Ken MacRorie, that “is” and “there” are best to avoid, but I’d never learned about avoiding “it.” Here’s MacRorie’s reasoning:
In any sort of writing, the excessive use of it piles up other unnecessary words in a sentence.
Original: By a recent poll it was revealed…
Revision: A recent poll revealed…
Good point, eh? Utilizing a specific subject with a telling verb helps to streamline the sentence. He goes on:
It has a way of picking up bad company. It seems are two words that frequently do bad things together.
Original: It seems that of the both groups, the boys are more conscious than the girls about subtleties of dress.
Revision: The boys are more conscious than girls about subtleties of dress.
By examining a longer piece of writing for use of to be, it, and there, you can consider eliminating some of these unconscious bad habits and work to create sentences with fresh, forceful, and specific verbs.
Sausage, Peppers, and Onion
This simple dish (p. 54) begins with only a handful of ingredients: onion, peppers, potatoes, and sausage. I used lean turkey kielbasa sausage and don’t feel like I lost much except for calories and fat.
Here are the veggies simmering.
And here’s the finished product. What a great idea for a dish, simple, delicious, and easy. Thank you, Jane, for the great addition!