During my editing, I've come across a helpful tool in a book I have titled, The Writer's little Helper.
Use specific words. Ask yourself if your words are specific enough to identify what you want the reader to see as a mental image.
Automatic words are tired, first-draft words borrowed from pop culture. They say two kids on the phone for an hour burn no more than 100 vocabulary words. Boring.
Literal words are also first-draft words, the ordinary language in chit-chat. Men are big, women are pretty. Such words are useless and boring. Your readers yawn and yearn for more description.
Concrete words lift you to where you begin inventing words. When your written words plant a picture in a head, you become a creative writer.
You need to take automatic and literal words and harden them into concrete so your readers see the image.
Using specific words helps you distinguish people, places and things from every other person, place or thing. You create distinctive pictures on your pages. Colors come to life. You now have moss green eyes or mud the color of chestnuts after a rain storm.
I used my Find button to locate these boring places in my manuscript and try to make them more concrete and specific.
I now have a turquoise Impala and candy apple red pick up truck as opposed to a boring car.
Eyes are like hazelnuts floating above a sea of freckles.
My dog is now a cute beagle.
My food is now more specific.
Etc. Etc. I think you get the idea.
I have also gotten rid of a lot of its! My lands I never knew "it" was in such plentiful supply in my manuscript.
Now go and invent new and specific words in your manuscript and make it a less boring read.
Of course, I am sure most of you do this already, but it doesn't hurt to use that
find button and check it out.
Posted by Janet Smart at Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch
©Janet F. Smart