Thursday, 18 April 2013

Knowing what words to cut

Very quick one for you today. I was working on my new horror novel this morning and I wrote this sentence -

"He took the frozen ready-meal from the freezer and put it into the microwave."

One word is utterly redundant in this sentence. Can you spot it?

Easy, eh.

Of course it's frozen.

Why?

Because if it's in a freezer what other possible state could it be in? Of course I cut it. Noob writers or those that haven't been edited (or edited by someone worth paying, there are plenty of those sharks about) are easy to spot because they write things like -

"He nodded his head."

Think of one other thing you nod. Go on, go.

Nothing?

Exactly. It could be worse - you could have written something as ridiculous as he "he looked at the clock to tell the time".

I'm not saying that there aren't other reasons to look at a clock - it might be an antique, or it might contain a bomb. In those cases you would specify why he looked at the clock, but if it's for the obvious reason of knowing the time, you're wasting words and your reader's energy (and time, ho hum) by including it.

Watch out for these.

Chris Ward
18th April 2013

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