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Precision in Language

I watched The Giver this weekend with my husband. I have loved the series and thought the movie was well done. One statement they used in the movie was “precision in language”. The parents often reprimanded the children when they were not clear about their feelings. Over the course of the weekend, my husband and I often would correct each other with the same comment, “precision in language,” as a joke. But as I am going through my edits, I find myself time and time again breaking that simple rule.

I often do a word search for some of these culprits: just, well, now, and so. Another nasty one for me is “was”.

For example:

Jim was walking down the path just as a plane flew overhead.

I can cut out “was” and “just” straight off the back. Then add a little show don’t tell to deepen it even more.

Jim walked down the path, when he heard the roar of a plane overhead.

Editing can be tedious and hard, but precision in language makes for a stronger story. Do you have any pitfalls you have to search for in editing?

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