Strip every sentence

A great writer is that way by intention. Each word is carefully selected to create just the right mood and atmosphere. Clarity and ambiguity are never left to chance but are by deliberate choice.

Weed out the unnecessary, the showy, the waffling and the cutesy words and phrases which cloud the issue skies and leave only the best.

Make every word earn its place in your manuscript, preferably with more than one reason for its particular use over another, more general, less specific word. The choice of sound, sense and sensitivity are chosen with the reader in mind rather than the writer. Less show, more beauty.

Listen to what you write

One of the easiest and most effective revision methods must be to read your words aloud. Should you stumble over the words, if they don’t have a pleasing rhythm, cadence and flow, mark them and go back to them.

Anywhere there is an awkward clunkiness, where the mood of the words is not as you intended, if they don’t touch the heart as you envisioned when you drafted them, go back and look at them with a critical eye rewording the passage.

Develop a more sensitive ear by reading great writing, listening to the words and the music they create in your mind.

For more information:

Someplace to go…


The setting of your story can be almost as important as character and plot. The same story set in different times and places can change it completely while demonstrating that despite the advances in technology and differences in lifestyle, humans are basically the same no matter where or when we live.

Fairy Tales have always triggered the imagination of writers, becoming some of the most popular tropes like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Echoes of these stories can be heard around the world in every conceivable time and place.

Jane Austen’s original classic English Regency romances have been rewritten or “updated”, set in different times and places with varying degrees of success. Even adaptations for movies based on Pride and Prejudice vary widely from the miniseries of 1995 (starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) and the 2005 movie (starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen) to variations like the 2004 Bollywood movie Bride and Prejudice, or the London of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Each has a very different feel and atmosphere while telling more or less the same story.

Look at the novels of Agatha Christie. She definitely knew how to make setting work for her story. Murder is murder whether it happens on a train, a river cruise, an island or in the middle of London such as of Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None and Sparkling Cyanide.

As a reader, I am grateful to writers everywhere who can spirit me away from the dentist’s waiting room, the sickroom, a long commute or a relaxing holiday to anywhere in the world or outside it from deepest darkest space, anywhere in time or to the familiarity of my own town and time, making stories come alive.