Tone it down, writers: accuracy versus hyperbole Reply

Below this video there’s a passage full of over-stating – if you’re looking for a writing exercise, have a go rewriting it replacing the over-stated descriptions with something more subtle – with a true and accurate descriptions of the facts.

The smell of the pub was so vile that I nearly gagged. The noise was deafening and puddles of beer sloshed around the floor. Near the bar a group of nearly-naked women, their skirts like belts, screamed so loudly I thought glasses might shatter. I fought my way through the stench of cheap perfume and leant on the crumbling bar. The barman, a humungous knuckle-dragging lout, grudgingly poured me a beer and crashed it onto the decrepit bar, spilling most of the liquid over my feet. As soon as I sipped the beer I thought I was going to be sick. One of the women must have seen me wincing because her inch-thick layer of makeup cracked as she cackled to her cronies.

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Precious words: an exercise in concision for writers 2

Words are precious! Here are some thoughts on editing and trying to be grateful for every word you can cut.

A narrative in need of shortening: The story of Jimmy and his brother in 500 words

Suggested solution: The story of Jimmy and his brother in 33 words

Here’s a link to a useful online resource to help authors practice writing concise sentences.
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Writing tips: words to avoid Reply

There are a few words that you should treat with the utmost suspicion: just, really, quite, literally, very. Mark Twain advised, ‘Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.’ As for ‘literally’, its misuse often results in absurdity.


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Adverbs of manner Reply

What’s the problem with adverbs of manner? Well, nothing necessarily, but whenever you use one, you should study it closely. There’s an example right there – ‘closely’ is an adverb of manner that’s redundant because to study something already implies giving it close attention.


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