Before You Submit: Tighten Your Sentences

Do you have a draft of your novel or short story and are thinking of submitting to an agent, publisher or writing contest? My series called Before You Submit might help. This series contains hints and tips I’ve received from professionals in the publishing industry. Each week I’ll share a new tip.

This week I’ll write about Sentence Tightening.

The sentence I’d written in my manuscript was:

A dense wooded area lined both sides of the ski run.

The editor changed the sentence to:

Dense woods lined both sides of the ski run.

The meaning is the same, but of course, uses fewer words. This type of change must be done carefully. In Before You Submit: Sentence Length I wrote about varying sentence lengths. Your change has to be made in context with the sentences around it. You want to ensure your writing still flows.

Just to illustrate at little more, the second sentence to be changed was:

The roar of the avalanche swallowed a scream that escaped from his lips.

The editor suggested the following:

The roar of the avalanche swallowed his scream.

Of course it’s his scream, and where would it come from but his lips? The first sentence didn’t even make sense, and now it uses fewer words.

See Before You Submit:Likeable Characters for the first blog in this series and an introduction the benefits of submitting even if you get a rejection letter.

I hope this helps improve your writing.

Thanks for reading . . .



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