Consider the following sentence:

The green grass was full of doctors, all dressed in their dazzlingly white surgical coats.

Now consider Sylvia Plath’s version:

The lawn was white with doctors. (from The Bell Jar)

I don’t think you’ll even have to think about it when I ask: Which is the better sentence?

But what about when I ask: Why?

May I introduce you to … The Bank of Words.

Imagine you have a budget for your writing. Every time you use a word, you have to pay for it. Some words are cheap, some expensive. The trick is to write as cheaply as possible: to be economical, and to make each word work.

Expensive words are adverbs (for these purposes, anything ending in -ly), unnecessary adjectives, modifiers (really, very, quite) and of course, clichés.

It’s not necessarily about cutting words, but about using the best words.

The Bank of Words. Make your withdrawals wisely.

Be cheap.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s