I am setting forth on a new journey in editing today. I am about to release a second edition of my book with a new cover so I am re-editing my book. One of the steps I am taking is getting rid of the words was and were. When I started editing earlier today I figured I could get this done in no time. I did a word count and found that out of over 72,000 the word was appeared over 1400 times. That is nearly 2% of my novel! Gah! and it is not just so simple to delete it and replace it with another word. I have to rewrite the sentence it is in and make sure it still makes sense and that it still fits with the sentences around it. Some are easy, take this example:
Just then, Sa’An heard a noise nearby, short and quick, it was a snapping of a branch.
I would rewrite this like:
Just then, Sa’An heard a noise nearby, a short and quick snapping of a branch.
But some sentences are just tough to figure out how to reword.
This was another trait of their people, early development.
I have to tear the whole sentence down and essentially rewrite it instead of just dropping a couple of words.
As another trait of her people, she developed at a rapid pace.
Why get rid of was? Using was is a crutch to passive voice. It takes the life out of your writing. I have replaced around 75 instances so far and have many more to go.
What is next after this? Adverbs!