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Moving on to rule number two, we encourage good rewriters to supplant verb forms of “to be” (e.g. was, were, are, am, will be) with active verbs. Adorn your draft with highly-caffeinated words that careen, thunder, swoop, roar, derail and dance. Comatose words like “is” barely manage to register a heartbeat as verbs. They portray nothing at all. Some politicians, it is rumored, do not even know what meaning of “is” really is. Yet, who can blame them for wanting to defrock such a flimsy and haggard word? As a good rewriter, you must convict and impeach these lackluster, worthless, and dull-witted imposters – meaning, of course, lazy verbs – not politicians.
Under rubric of rule three, good rewriting will insist that you vary your word choices. Do not employ same words too often. This means you must scan draft to spy out repeat offenders, so you can give their space to an underemployed synonym. You can plunder any good thesaurus to get these. Variety remains THE spice central to good writing, so spice it up.
Rule number four for good rewriting warns us to keep it short and snappy. Take a step back form your paper for a moment to clean it up now. Go ahead and give your draft a clean shave, and take a little off top. Trimming from your draft excess words, phrases, and perhaps even sentences, will ensure clear writing that gets right to point. If your sentence says it in twenty words, find a way to say it in, maybe, fifteen. But watch out for nicks and cuts. Never toss out any important ideas or words essential to your writing task. Yet, when it doubt, throw it out – or at least – give it a fair snipping to keep it lean.
Finally, rule number five bids good rewriters juggle their sentence lengths. Mix it up. If your first sentence spans only a few words, follow this with a lengthier one. Then chase that one with a mid-length sentence. This creates an almost enchanting, writing “flow”– where your readers wonder what will come next. This subtle variety in your writing style draws reader in, and keeps her coming back. And we know that keeping readers interested remains best way to keep them.
Now these rules work very well and can improve your writing immensely almost at once, but only if you put them to use. On such topics as these, of course, I have much more to say. And I hasten to do so at our Writing With Power site, giving examples, tips and great resources along way. Remember, you will need to rely heavily on a fairly comprehensive thesaurus. Don’t be afraid to invest a little in this venture.
All best efforts of academic world have not managed to prevent current shortage of good rewriters. Most folks still cling to “Myth of Great Writer,” and this hinders them from jumping straightway into river of personal advancement. Don’t let a literary fiction keep you from securing your own set of extremely marketable and valuable skills with a little effort and practice. Start today, and come on in – water is fine. And did I mention that it’s free?
Christopher Brown enjoys playing with his 5 children when he is not writing articles and books, building websites, trading stocks, or blogging. He taught both English and Philosophy, and has tutored many students. He also hosted a radio talk-show, and wrote a book. In March, 2004, he founded a corporation in Livermore, CA (http://scriberight.blogspot.com), which promotes free services online.