- Use strong verbs.
- Cut as many adverbs that modify verbs as possible. (-ly as in “objected strongly”
- Cut as many adjectives that modify nouns, pronouns, and other adjectives as possible. (as in “that hat)
- Use specific word choices. (cottonwood tree)
- Avoid using clichés. (dumb as a rock)
- Watch using excessive dialogue tags.
- Watch word repetition and repeated phrases.
- Watch overused or misused words such as that, only, suddenly.
- Watch using passive voice words such as is, are, were.
- Check that which and that are correctly used.
- Eliminate using that as much as possible.
- Take out as many weak modifiers as possible such as very, almost, practically.
- Remove as many overkill phrases as possible such as shrugged his shoulders, nodded in agreement, pulled the trigger on the gun.
- Watch using too many word filters such as he saw, he heard, he thought, he realized.
- Watch using too many –ing and –as phrases.
- Use short paragraphs to provide a quicker pace.
- Vary paragraph length.
- Watch using weak sentences at the beginning of a paragraph.
- Keep powerful sentences at the beginning or ending of a paragraph.
- Watch how many sentence fragments are used.
- Use metaphors and similes correctly.
- Vary sentence structure.
- Watch dialogue sentences over twenty words in length.
- Use shorter sentences with more action verbs.
- Watch starting too many sentences with the, he, or she.
- Watch having too much explanation about emotions or descriptions.
- Use the appropriate anachronisms for writing an historical piece.
- Check all of the facts (distances, historical details, description details, procedures) used.
- Use accurate descriptions.
- Make sure details are consistent throughout the story (eye color, hair color, scars, etc.).
- Avoid the wandering body parts (eyes dropped, a hand reached out, foot fell, etc.).
- Use Italics and exclamation points sparingly.
- Watch using flowery images.