Wednesday, 5 November 2014

5 Signs of Weak Writing

We all do it sometimes. We throw together something quickly- whether it is a book or blog post, and let it out into the world. But writing becomes so much better if you take a bit of time to eliminate weak writing.

Weak writing says, “I am new to writing!” Even if you aren’t new to writing, your content will be passed over if it overuses weak writing.

So, what is a sign of weak writing? Eliminate these weak elements and your writing will improve dramatically and you won’t have to work much harder at all! That is something I call a giant win.

Tons of Adverbs and Adjectives

Adverbs and adjectives are useful tools in writing, and often necessary, but when your writing is peppered with adverbs and adjectives, it can start to sound like a Thesaurus. If your big, brown, knarred, oak tree waves its weighty branches weakly in the cool, soft, autumnal breeze; then you don’t have a story, you have a dictionary.

Overuse of a Single Word

This particular weakness drives me crazy. I know it is fun to show off your favorite word of the week in your writing, but if every paragraph uses the word “surreptitiously” then the reader will get bored.

“Telling” Actions

This is where the writer states a fact, rather than telling a fact. One of my favorite quotes talks about this issue. If Stacy just feels “sad” that her grandmother died, the story will be rather flat.

Too Many Passive Sentences

I love a good passive sentence, but too many will make the reader feel like she needs to take a nap. I don’t think that passive sentences should always be avoided, but try to have a mix between passive and active.

Too Many Lazy Words

What is a lazy word? Lazy words are vague and boring. Some of the most common offenders are:
  • Stuff
  • Went
  • Was
  • Got
  • Very
  • Are
  • A lot

You won’t be able to eliminate all of these words all of the time (nor should you), but watching out for them can prevent your writing from sounding generic.

You want people to read and enjoy what you write, right? That is why eliminating signs of weak writing in your content will benefit you in numerous ways. You will write better and become more popular when you eliminate weakness in your writing.

Brenda is a fellow book-lover and coffee-addict. She is a freelance writer, punctuation nerd, and grammar enthusiast. Her favorite book genres are Science Fiction, Fantasy with a Twist, and Dystopian. Brenda blogs about books, writing and more at Daily Mayo. Find her here on CaW for Writing Tips Wednesdays the first Wednesday of every month.

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1 comment:

  1. Passive sentences are one of my bug bears. I write proposals for a living and they can be hard to avoid - but not impossible. They make things very dull. Emma @ Once Upon a Littlefield


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