B Y Rogers photo

B Y Rogers

I am convinced that great writing takes great skill and most indie writers are not great, including myself.

However there are a few tricks that each of us can master that will improve the writing skill, even in the first draft.

May I suggest a ‘very simple’ one? It is very, very easy to spot and very easy to fix. Along the way, your vocabulary will increase and hence your writing will improve and your editing will be easier.

Kill the word ‘very’. Remove every one of those darlings from your writing. Do a search of your document, highlight every single ‘very’ and destroy it like you would a malicious, malevolent monster.

‘Very’ is very weak. Look at it this way. In most cases, when we write the word very, we follow it with an emotion, at least generally speaking. We write: She is very angry or he is very happy. (Ignore for the moment the ‘be’ verbs. They need to die as well but that is another lesson). Why use two words when one will do?

Consider this and decide for yourself which is weak, which is strong.

“She’s very happy.” vs. “She’s euphoric.”

“He’s very angry.” vs. “He’s outraged.”

“That’s very important.” vs. “That’s crucial.”

This concept goes back to show vs. tell. Removing ‘very’ paints the picture. Leaving ‘very’ in the text weakens the story and does not engage the reader.

In this context, may I suggest an internet aid? I found that Visual Thesaurus invaluable when trying to find the perfect word to replace two words or a short phrase. Give it try if you haven’t already. It’s a very great (extraordinary) website.

2 thoughts on “Very

  1. I always encourage writers to write with ‘very’ (if that’s their sin) or ‘almost’ or whatever is their particular repetitive word, as if it was perfectly acceptable. This encourages flow. The editing or re-writing process is where you kill those repetitive words, not while writing. Then when re-reading after cleaning the piece up, it is amazing to all writers how fine it sounds without those pesky words.

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