Write Tight: Don't Waste Words

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 29th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Even good writers can get too wordy. Let's write tight and make every word count.

What Is Tight Writing?


Write tight or see your readers take flight. Readers are impatient and may be turned off by articles which are too long. That's why it's important that every article make its points using as few words as possible.
This advice is true for all writing but critical for online writing on sites such as Wikinut. It's easy for readers to click away from your article if it's too wordy. Online readers also tend to skim instead of reading everything. They may only read a section or two. So use tight writing for your readers, and they may be hooked until the end.

Avoid adverbs


Adverbs add more words and weaken sentences. They do what their name says: they modify verbs, adjectives and other phrases. Most adverbs end in "ly."
Here is an example.
Weak: She ran quickly around the track and finished speedily ahead of her very slow competitors.
Better: She raced around the track well ahead of her competitors.
Sometimes, you can break this rule and use an adverb. I recently wrote about the decline of feature writers "who have unfortunately become a dying breed." I could have eliminated unfortunately but wanted to emphasize how sad I thought this trend was. Should I have eliminated the word? You be the judge.

Use Strong Verbs


Weak verbs weaken sentences. Strong verbs strengthen sentences and make them crisper.
Here is an example:
Weak: She slowly walked up the long, rocky mountain path and happily admired a lovely bald eagle flying majestically and magnificently through the beautiful blue sky.
Better: She climbed the steep mountain and watched a bald eagle soar overhead.

Eliminate Unnecessary Words


Even the best writer can sometimes use unnecessary words which can often be eliminated. I just did but let me try again. Even good writers sometimes use unnecessary words.
We shop at a grocery store even though grocery means a store which sells food. We read newspaper articles about fires which "completely destroyed the house." When something gets destroyed, there's nothing left to complete.
We receive a free gift from our family which sure beats paying for it. We fill up our car's gas tank which must be healthier than filling it down.
Here is another look at how to write tight :

So next time you write for Wikinut, remember to eliminate adverbs, use strong verbs and eliminate unnecessary words. You will write tight and get it right with your readers.

Here is an article I wrote on writing stronger articles:
Here is an article I did on writing stronger leads:

Here is an article I did on writing stronger endings:
Here is one I did on the best books for writers:

Attribution


The video came from You Tube.
All photos came from Morguefile.com and are available for use in the public domain.

Tags

Write, Writer, Writing, Writing Articles, Writing Skills, Writing Tips, Writing Tips And Tricks

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Great advice Connie. Thank you.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Hahaha! I feel this directed at me and my LONG articles. (I know better; it may not have been written about my writing but it would not hurt me to learn what I can from it) Good Job!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Steve. Hope it helps everybody.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Phyl. Long can be strong. Tight is right.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Excellent!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Fern, hope it's helpful.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Very helpful indeed, Professor!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
30th Aug 2013 (#)

A great post and so very true.

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author avatar Mariah
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Well written Connie.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
30th Aug 2013 (#)

I feel guilty after reading your post, Connie. I have to try but old habits die hard! siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Terry.I am glad people find it helpful.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Mariah. I guess practice makes perfect.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Aug 2013 (#)

Thanks, Siva. You do such a great job that everyone reads every word of your articles no matter the length. I always read every word of your work, Siva.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
6th Sep 2013 (#)

Nicely done, great advice thanks Connie!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
7th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks, Delicia.

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author avatar sukkran
22nd Sep 2013 (#)

some useful suggestions here. thanks for sharing, connie.

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Nov 2013 (#)

Great advice!

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author avatar Connie McKinney
6th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks so much, Ptrikha.

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