Since some of you don't have subscriptions to the Romance Writers Report, I thought I'd share some gems on self-editing by Jeannie Eddy from this month's issue.
I have to admit, I've been guilty of many of the following.
(some examples mine to save space)
1. A word that you don't need.
See how many unnecessary "that's" are in your work. Could you leave some out?
Example: "It was an annoying habit that she had that signaled to him that she was tired."
"It was an annoying habit she had, signalling she was tired."
2. Are you in, out, over, up or down?
These directional words can often be deleted.
Example: He looked down into her eyes.
He looked into her eyes.
3. Finally, suddenly, you can improve your writing - by deleting finally and suddenly.
Example: Suddenly a boat appeared on the horizon.
A boat appeared on the horizon.
4. I feel you should stop telling me how the characters feel.
Example: Helen felt angry enough to hit John.
Helen's hands balled into fists as she stared at John.
5. It even seems like I have more to tell you.
Example: She didn't even know where to look.
She didn't know where to look.
6. You are almost ready to finish your book.
Read through your manuscript to see how many times you use "almost." Do you say "He was almost afraid to say something?"
Was he or wasn't he? You and your reader should know for sure.