Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Sloppy Writing 101.26

Another word to watch out for is decide. Using decide distances the reader from the characters and should be avoided.

I don’t use a ton of decides, but after a search of The Proper Way to Say Goodbye, I found several I could delete to tighten my sentences. The interesting thing was that I didn’t overuse it with my main character. Meaning Chloe didn’t say, I decided to… a lot. More often, I used it in other people’s dialogue, and usually it was unnecessary.

Here are a few examples.

He should’ve been a freshman in college, but he decided to take a year off from school.
Revised: He should’ve been a freshman in college but took a year off from school.

Eventually we decided to meet and became friends.
Revised: Eventually we met and became friends.

I’m so glad you decided to join us.
Revised: I’m so glad you joined us.

I decided to play dumb.
Revised: I played dumb.

So watch out for unnecessary and/or overuse of decide.

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5 Responses to “Sloppy Writing 101.26”

  1. Chloe Banks Says:

    That’s another one like ‘reach’ – just adds another element to a simple action. I do the same with ‘seemed’. Instead of saying that someone felt something or loooked a certain way, I’ll say that it ‘seemed’ as if they did.

  2. Dana Says:

    I’d never even considered that decide would be a word to watch out for, but you’re right. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Janeal Says:

    That’s a good one. I just went through and found several in there that weren’t needed. Thanks!

  4. Medeia Sharif Says:

    That is an unnecessary word. I don’t think I overuse it, but I could be wrong. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

  5. Jackie Says:

    Great post! I’m going to search my MS for this!

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