- [ ] Deleted throat-clearing, freeing my opening of unnecessary scene setting, backstory,
background information, or anything else that keeps me from getting on with my story.
- [ ] Chosen the simple word over the complicated one. Anywhere I could have simplified, I
- [ ] Omitted needless words.
- [ ] Deleted even subtle redundancies, such as “he clapped his hands” or “he shrugged his shoulders.”
- [ ] Deleted up and down, except where necessary.
- [ ] Deleted that, except when necessary for clarity.
- [ ] Not over-explained. (Instead of “He walked through the open door and sat down in a
chair,” you would write, “He walked in and sat in a chair.”)
- [ ] Avoided quotation marks around words used in another context, as if the reader
wouldn’t otherwise “get it.”
- [ ] Avoided telling what’s not happening, such as, “He didn’t respond,” or, “The room never
- [ ] Used strong nouns and verbs instead of overusing adjectives and adverbs. Avoided hedging verbs, such as smiled slightly, almost laughed, etc.
- [ ] Deleted the term literally when I actually mean *figuratively.*o Deleted unnecessary stage direction, telling my reader only what he or she needs to know in each scene—nothing more.