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Writers Tip #65: Thing? Really?

writers tips

Great tips for soon-to-be great writers

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Don’t ever use ‘thing’, ‘something’, or any iteration of that word. That includes words like ‘stuff’, ‘you know’. You’re a writer. You can be more descriptive. Take a moment to use your skills and tell the reader what that ‘thing’ is.

What set me off? Too many titles that sound like this one:

Five Things that Tell You Who Your Characters Are

Sure, as an author, you have license, but you also have an obligation.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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6 thoughts on “Writers Tip #65: Thing? Really?

  1. Thanks for the expert advice here. Searching finding and replacing the silly words can tighten up the writing – I appreciate the pinch here and am going back over my [things] stories, essays, and novel!

  2. One of my edits after getting my draft down on paper is search for ‘thing’ (as well as ‘was’ and ‘is’ and all those other annoying passive and boring words) and force myself to think what it is that I meant–rather than ‘thing’.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Elements of Style | WordDreams...

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