Get Rid of “Foggy” Words


I highly recommend that you read all three of the resources, listed in this  blog post.  I believe you can improve your writing 25% by using the information they contain.

Resource 1. It was interesting to read William Noble’s The 28 Biggest Writing Blunders and How to Avoid Them. I discovered another way of dealing with words in my manuscript.  I ordered it from the library. The following link is an excerpt from the book:

http://www.writersdigest.com//article/nobles-writing-blunders-excerpt

a. Usually the adjective can stand by itself without the foggy word.

James performed a really kind act. You don’t need really. Kind explains it.

She was hired for a very dangerous job. You don’t need very. Dangerous says it all.

He wore a kind of wet bathing suit. You don’t need kind of. Wet says it all.

b. Search for a verb that has the meaning of the adverb included in it. Many adverbs add a double explanation, when one is enough. You need a clear verb. If you choose a good verb that describes your character’s situation, you won’t need the adverbs.

His teeth chattered quickly. You don’t need quickly. That meaning is included in the definition of the verb. Chattered means to click quickly.

Resource 2. I found the following link on the Broward College website:titled: Wordiness, Part 1, Trim the Fat.

http://webhome.broward.edu/~dshaw/handouts/Wordiness%20Part%201.html#_Toc145512812/.

Resource 3. They also have Wordiness Part 2, Foggy Words

http://webhome.broward.edu/~dshaw/handouts/Wordiness%202%20Foggy%20Words.html/.

The foggy words may have helped you get down your ideas in your first draft. However, when you revise, choose words with clear meaning.  Delete or exchange the foggy words.

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Joan Y. Edwards

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Copyright 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses

  1. Joan,

    This is packed with helpful information. Some of the foggy words sound like academic style of writing. In The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, he says, “…their prose is unnecessarily convoluted–they often look for the most roundabout way of expressing an idea.” It is a hard habit to break, but the references you mentioned are a great place to start. Thanks for sharing.

    Linda A.

    Like

    • Dear Linda, Thanks for leaving a comment and another resource. William Noble’s The 28 Biggest Writing Blunders (And How to Avoid Them) gives many ideas for making your meaning clear. You’re right, many of the words on the Wordiness 2: Foggy Words list from Broward College are academic writing ones. But the ones from Wordiness 1 include all types of foggy writing areas. The trick is finding the resource that inspires you to see how you can improve your writing. Getting a glimpse of different resources will give writers an idea of which ones match their learning styles. Noah Lukeman’s First Five Pages is an incredible resource to help get writing in condition for publication. Do something good for you today.

      Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm Flip at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/ Never Give Up Blog http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

  2. Thanks for a very useful post!

    Some of the most basic wordiness problems creep into my first drafts. A big one for me is “very;” I know that when I sit down to edit, there are going to be a lot of “very’s” that I’ll have to remove. I made myself a list of the words that I know creep into my manuscript, and I have it beside me when I edit so I know what to watch for.

    Like

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