5. Replace tired adjectives and
vague nouns with specific words
Fiction writers have long championed
the power of specificity. They know
oak is stronger than tree, wing tips more
telling than shoes. We get lazy and fall
back on beautiful, nice, great, good and
big. Get specific to more clearly state
Consider the difference in these
The bird circled the crowd.
Nothing to worry about here (unless
you’ve recently watched Alfred
Hitchcock’s The Birds).
The beady-eyed raven circled the
OK, this sounds scary.
The parakeet circled the wrestlers.
Whew! Nothing to worry about
here. See what a difference specific
6. Edit, edit, edit
Save time for your all-important editing by writing your first draft fast.
Don’t worry about specificity—just
get your thoughts down. Now go back
and rewrite, rework and refine your
copy. Circle vague words or lazy adjectives and get specific. As a result, you’ll
enjoy fewer misunderstandings and
see better results.
about the author
Lynda McDaniel, “Your
Write with Confidence
Coach,” is based in the
San Francisco Bay Area
and works with clients
worldwide. Visit her website