Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tighten up that editorial waistline

Throughout the course of my writing career, I have grown accustomed to editors removing content from my stories to 'tighten' them up. A detail-oriented person, I have not always loved this editorial move. As my writing has changed, I have grown to appreciate the art of a quick and thorough piece.

In my grammar class at Westminster, we were assigned to read and respond to an article written by Helen Sword in the New York Times. She writes about 'Zombie Nouns,' and then provides a test she created called the Writer's Diet test for writers to find out whether or not they are zombie noun abusers; and lack-luster and lazy with their choice of verbs. The test assessments reminded me of the editorial advice to tighten things up.

I tested two of my past essays and received a score of 'flabby' on both. I soon became fascinated with how to improve my writing and get a better score. For my response essay to Sword's article, I wrote based on the advice provided in the Writer's Diet diagnoses received on the two essays. I tested out my response (the third essay) and guess what? I score a 'lean.' Oh yeah! If only tightening up flabby bodies in real life was this easy!

I encourage any writer to read this article and then take the Writer's Diet test. Thanks to my Grammar professor for including this in our homework!

Zombie Noun Article

Writer's Diet Test