If you want to be a successful author, you need to write powerful sentences. Today I’m going to offer a simple strategy for writing sentences that move. Here it is: strip away words that slow down the sentence.
Below is a list of heavy, plodding words that tend to sneak into sentences. You think you’re building power when you use them, but often the opposite happens: your sentence slows down.
Here’s the list: all at once, began to, eventually, immediately, just then, might, proceeded to, started to, suddenly, then
Please note that I’m not warning you against using them. (I sometimes use them myself!) What I’m asking is that you stop and think first. Read the sentence both ways – with the questionable word or expression, and then without it. Which version sounds better? And are there other changes you can make?
Taking that extra step immediately sets you apart for the average writer. Try it!
Here are some examples:
He saw Janey and proceeded to scoop her up in his arms.
The moment he saw Janey, he scooped her up in his arms. BETTER
The dog ran to the door, barking furiously. Then Susan heard banging.
The dog ran to the door, barking furiously. Susan heard banging. BETTER
As she fumbled with the doorknob, the packages tumbled from her arms all at once.
As she fumbled with the doorknob, the packages tumbled from her arms. BETTER