Thanks to Kim Williams-Justesen for this blog post. She shares fun insight to help us cut vagueness and use descriptive words to put colorful imagery in our writing. Out with the dull and in with the WoW!
Often in an early draft of a book I find that I have used “lazy language” to convey an idea. These words look like they’re trying to do something, but in reality, they manage to lie on the page, limp and lifeless. There are vague nouns and vague verbs, and surprisingly there are vague adjectives, too.
Whatever the cause of these nondescript descriptive words being in our manuscripts, the hard fact is: they need to be removed. What these lame and lifeless words manage to do is take up space without actually furthering the writing, whether it’s a story or an essay. How does one spot these words? It takes practice, and a willingness to do a little extra digging when it comes time for revision.
Let’s look at a few examples. What kinds of words would be considered vague?
Nouns that are broad and undefined fall into the vague…
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