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Writing tip #1:  Avoid verb forms of “to be,” if possible.  Am, is, are, was, and were –the most useless words in a writer’s toolbox. Why? Because 1) they usually aren’t necessary for conveying your message, and 2) removing them usually renders their accompanying qualifiers and modifiers unnecessary.  When you find these potential problem-words, try removing them and rewording the sentence.  You’ll often end up with a shorter, punchier sentence.  Say twice as much, but with fewer words.

Writing Tip #2:  To emphasize a word, place it at the beginning or end of a sentence.  That’s where words stand out the most. Words or phrases of little importance should be placed mid-sentence, if possible.  Also, place a paragraph’s most important sentence at the beginning or the end of the paragraph.  When writing, don’t forget about emphasis.

Writing Tip #3:  Go on a “which hunt.”  Read this sentence: “The car, which had big wheels and a loud, roaring  muffler, rolled past me.”  Horrible.  Now, let’s try this:  “The big-wheeled car roared past me.”  See there?  By removing that nasty “which,” and thinking creatively, I cut more than half the sentence–eight words–without distorting its meaning.  If you can remove “which” without distorting a sentence’s meaning, then remove it!  If outright removal won’t work, consider using “that” instead of “which.”  That uses fewer letters, and it rarely requires a preceding comma, unlike that nasty old which.

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