R- Run on sentences
P- Passive tone of voice
Let’s start with cliché. What is it? By definition a cliché is: 1) a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought and 2) a trite, stereotyped expression. None of which sounds like anything readers want you to waste their time with. Don’t do it. No one wants you to pick their brain. You won’t be their ace in the hole. They won’t fall head over heels in love with your writing if you fill your prose with cliché after cliché. Instead let your actions speak louder than words and use inspired, well-thought out writing and soon you’ll be makin’ bacon.
(BONUS: Can you find all of the clichés in the paragraph above?)
Just get to the point and tell the reader what it is you need them to know.
Grammatically, we all know you need punctuation. It gives readers a chance to pause and take in what you’ve written. But what is almost as bad is the over use of clauses and phrases. No matter how good your reader is, it’s never easy to read and process long sentences. Reread your work. Can you replace commas with periods?
Don’t be apathetic. That translates into sloppy or boring. Make sure people can tell you care about what you are writing. You only get one chance at a first impression. If your first paragraph doesn’t pull them into your story, nothing else will. Make sure you edit your copy. Nothing is worse to a reader than finding misspelled words or grammatical errors. You lose credibility with a reader if they know you don’t know the difference in effect and affect or you misuse it’s, its or its’.
Don’t be passive. You’ve heard over and over active voice is best. Replace lazy verbs with ones that compel a reader to move along your page. He led. She created. They delivered. A thesaurus is your best friend when writing.
Here’s a crap-worksheet you can keep to make sure your writing isn’t filled with crap.
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