A writer shares tricks of the trade

The Chronicle of Higher Education
My Little Bag of Writing Tricks

In this article, author and creative writing professor Rachel Toor shares a few writing tips.  Some of the highlights:

  • Use the find feature (“CTRL + F” or “Command + F” on a mac) to search for overused words. This may include forms of the verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, been, etc…), which can weaken writing.
  • Scan writing for words ending in  -tion, -ism, -ty, -ment, -ness, -ance, and -ence and replace these “fuzzy nouns” with “a more muscular verb and…a concrete noun” when it betters the sentence.
  • Play around adjusting font and point size. Zoom out or decrease the font size to see the overall structure of your writing. Then select a really simple font at a normal size to focus on content instead of formatting. 
  • Read your drafts aloud (Toor reads to her dog).

Can this advice help your students strengthen their writing?