This editing technique is incredibly simple: search for every instance of is/are/was/were and ask yourself if can you reword that sentence to removed that instance of was-type words. (See post for more details.)
We all have some knowledge about other things that we can throw into our writing: we might ride horses, camp in the forest frequently, or even know how to knit. It’s the little details that make a story. However, don’t just assume that because you ride a motorbike that you know all the ins and outs of riding a snowmobile. If you are going into the details (rather than leaving things somewhat generic and vague), then ensure that you have those little details correct. Someone will call you up on it if you don’t.
A large portion of the world’s population all speak English, but that doesn’t mean that we all speak the same language. Take those items that need to be taken to the dump, for instance. Isn’t it called rubbish? No wait, my parent’s called it trash. But I’ve also heard it called garbage, waste, recycling, refuse, junk and Chapter 13. (And people wonder why I try to avoid certain words in my own writing.)
So many words that sound the same, and let’s face it, when writing at speed, we can easily get them mixed up. Proceed and precede are among them. Precede means to come before. Proceed means to continue on.
Is it an aubergine or eggplant? Is it a courgette or zucchini? Is it a capsicum or bell pepper? Believe it or not, within each pair, the words mean exactly the same thing. Different words are used for the same thing around the world, and your spellchecker thinks they’re all correct.
Hiking and tramping are two words that actually mean the same thing, but have different connotations depending on the culture you come from. To me, tramping is putting on the heavy 20 kg (44lbs) pack and going bush. Hiking, on the other hand, is the actual act of walking through the bush. However, others will argue that it’s the other way around. When using words like this, remember your target audience; don’t assume that everyone knows the exact context of which you are meaning.
As much as some people hate Twilight, there was a statement in Breaking Dawn that is perfectly true: people fidget. We never stay perfectly still. We might tap our fingers, bite our nails, rotate our ankles. Ensure that you give your characters those little actions, and make some of them character traits.
Many writers have discovered the world that is Twitter, however, many writers struggle to know where to start. There are so many hashtags available. Where does one begin? Here are just a few hashtags to get writers started, allowing you to interact every day of the week. These are all writing games where you either share work you are currently writing, or you free-form based on various prompts. Do be advised that while most of these operate on a timezone of Eastern Time, some don’t. You’ll need to check with the hosts as to when they post the prompts.
So many of us were told that ain’t isn’t a word and hence we shouldn’t use it. Well, it actually is in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (much to my surprise). However, while it may be in the dictionary, I wouldn’t recommend using it unless it’s in dialogue or in first-person narrative prose. Basically, if your character would say ain’t, then it’s fair game. Otherwise, let’s just leave ain’t as one of those words that may be in the dictionary but we shouldn’t use.