Editing Tricks # 1. Getting rid of weasel words.

All writing is re-writing. And more re-writing and more re-writing. In this blog and others in the series, I'll attempt to show you some of things I've learnt to help shorten the editing process, making your writing better and more fluid.

Today's tip is Using the Find and Replace function on your writing programme.Whether it's Word, Pages or something else, this is one of the key functions.

This function can be used in many different ways; Searching and destroying adverbs. Getting rid of accidental double spacing. And basic polishing.

I use it to get rid of weasel words that have a habit of creeping into my writing.  Weasels are those words that creep into writing but can effectively be eliminated without losing meaning or sense in a sentence. In fact, removing them adds pace to all you work, making it easier to read.

Examples of weasel words are;


    •    nice

    •    that

    •    little

    •    and then

    •    quite

    •    just

    •    totally

    •    good/great

    •    very

    •    really

In a first draft I might find over a 100 examples of each word. 'That' is my own particular bugbear. I've just checked one piece of writing. There were 75 examples of 'that' in just 28 pages. 

To make it work, simply go to your program, find the edit heading and scroll down to the Find function. Type in the word you want to check and see how many examples come up. I immediately reduce the number of instances by at least half by rewriting and eliminating. It's amazing the effect just doing this simple edit has on my writing

In the next post, I'll talk about he dreaded exclamation mark. Get rid of it!