Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Sloppy Writing 101.25

Here is another word to watch out for. Reach. I don’t have a big problem with reach, but I found a few places to tighten my sentences. These examples are from The Proper Way to Say Goodbye.

-She reached over and touched my arm.

-I couldn’t help it and reached out and pulled the door open.

-He reached for the heat and turned it down.

-She reached down and squeezed my shoulder.

In all those cases, I really don’t need the reach. Sometimes it’s important for your character to show they are reaching for something, but many times, like my examples above, it’s not necessary.

So watch out for reach. I may not overuse it, but I’m sure there are others who do.

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6 Responses to “Sloppy Writing 101.25”

  1. Chloe Banks Says:

    Since you started writing these posts I’ve been really conscious of slopping writing while editing my own novel. I’m not looking at the first and last words of all my speech – it’s amazing how often they can be cut.

    Have you tried wordle ever? http://www.wordle.net/create
    You copy and paste text into the box and it creates a word cloud for you with the words you use most (excluding words like ‘the’ and ‘of’ etc.) biggest. So you can see which words you use a lot. I pasted my entire novel draft into it. Obviously character names came out big, but also the word ‘like’. It means now I know I overuse that word and am really careful to use it appropriately or cut it when I come across it while editing. Give it a go! It’s good fun and if you don’t press save then your work never gets uploaded on to the website, thus you don’t have to worry about anybody else seeing it.

  2. Dana Says:

    I love these reminders of things to watch out for when writing. Thanks!

  3. Lara Schiffbauer Says:

    Another good one to be on the alert for! I think I’m going to go back through your Sloppy Writing posts and make my own list!

  4. tanya reimer Says:

    OMG! I am off to check!!!

  5. tanya reimer Says:

    Yup, I have a list too, glad I checked, it wasn’t on my list and it should be.

  6. Medeia Sharif Says:

    Thanks for the tip. I think I might overuse “reach.” I’ll pay more attention to it.

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