I found a link today to a collection of 20 editing/revision tips that definitely made me think. I’m in the process of editing Twin Stars Bk1 at the moment, and I think I might use some of these as part of that process.
One that caught my eye was a suggested style guide:
10. Style guide (this is mine, and might not be for everyone, but I’m thinking music and readability):
- Value nouns and verbs over adjectives and especially adverbs.
- Value consonants over vowels.
- Value hard consonants (e.g. k) over soft consonants (e.g. g).
- Value words of one syllable over words of two syllables over words of three syllables, etc. Though precision is important, and sometimes the right word is the longer word.
- Each sentence should include more stressed syllables than unstressed syllables (a la Lish).
- A sentence with a masculine ending (stressed syllable) sounds stronger than one with a feminine ending (unstressed syllable).
- Avoid using the word was when possible. A lot of this has to do with using the right action verb.
- Avoid introductory clauses (e.g. Closing my eyes, I smiled) except when used as time or location markers (At five o’clock, When I got back from the store, In the supermarket).
- Using common words, or colloquial words, in new ways, is more interesting than using uncommon words in normal ways.
- Avoid “begin” or “start” or intermediate actions (e.g. I began to sing. He started walking. He got up from the couch and went to the door. Just write: I sing. He walked. He went to the door.)
- Value consonance and assonance over alliteration.
- In almost all instances, use “say” or “ask” instead of other dialogue tags.
via Necessary Fiction.