Really good writing is clear and precise, leaving no room for misunderstanding and confusion on the reader’s part. If you want that quality in your own writing, start by doing these things when editing your prose:
- Limit your use of “there was” and “there were.” Not only do people default to starting sentences with these too much, they also make sentences longer than they have to be.
- Show, don’t tell. If you want your message to be clear, show it. As in, don’t just say “she sang beautifully.” Show why it is so, describing how “her notes were on point,” “her tone was lively” and “her phrasing was catchy.”
- Find clichés and nuke them. Using tired idioms and figures of speech is not only boring, it leads to misinterpretation in some readers who might have made incorrect associations with previous usage of the same clichés.
- Avoid qualifiers where they aren’t necessary. Qualifiers like “appears to be” and “looked to be” have their place, but people seem to use them all the time even when they’re conveying something that doesn’t require a qualifier.
- Use “it” wisely. Too many times, people use the pronoun “it” indiscriminately. To avoid confusion and promote precision, always use “it” only to refer to the noun immediately preceding it.