How often have you heard conference speakers, i.e. authors, agents, and editors, say that, to be a successful, published author, you need to write “tight?”
So in pen laymen’s terms, what in the world does writing “tight” mean?
Here are eight qualities that will define a piece of literature as “tight” or stripped to its cleanest components:
1. Use specific nouns:
Not: The bird flew over.
Rather: The raven flew over the barn.
2. Pitch out as many adverbs as you can:
Not: He spoke loudly and angrily.
Rather: He yelled!
3. Be positive in sentence inflection:
Not: He didn’t show any respect.
Rather: He showed no respect.
4. Use active not passive voice with your verbs:
Not: Bowser, the dog, was walked by Joe.
Rather: Joe walked his dog, Bowser.
5. Get rid of sentences that start with “There” or “There were:”
Not: There was a lot of snow last month.
Rather: Last month’s snow total broke records.
6. Show, don’t tell; in other words, describe your action clearly:
Not: Billy was really angry.
Rather: Billy pounded his fist on the table.
7. Watch for redundant phrases:
Not: Millie blushed with embarrassment.
Rather: Millie’s face turned bright red.
8. Use down-to-earth language and throw out eloquent pedantic phrases and euphemisms that no one will know what the heck you’re talking about:
Not: Rickie’s face showed lines of agony and remorse while streams of tears flooded her poor anguished soul.
Rather: Rickie cried as though her heart was broken.
So, there you have it. Embrace these tidbits on how to become a best-selling author, and your readers will be begging for more.