* Make notes on your hard copy (I like to use a red pen and highlighter).
* Read your work out loud.
* Use contractions wherever possible.
* Vary sentence structure and length. Stress important points with short or fragmented sentences.
* Vary paragraph length. Create/leave white space every so often to increase the pace and give the reader a visual break.
* Begin and end scenes and chapters with a hook.
* Repetition ?
* Identify and rewrite crutch words or phrases.
* Do not repeat information.
* Avoid qualifiers where possible, use them sparingly if you must – Actually, finally, really, in fact, almost, very.
Example #1. Change very important to critical, crucial or central.
Example #2. Change really angry to outraged or furious.
* Avoid lazy suffixes ness, ize, ly.
* To be verbs are often over used am, is, are, was, were, be, being. Use descriptive, powerful, active verbs instead.
Example: The purpose of the report is to provide a means of comparing production values from different times of the year.
Change To: The report compares production values from different times of the year.
* Remove the word “that” wherever possible.
* Write clearly, don’t sound like a politician.
Example: The income derived from oil and gas revenue will be allocated to revitalizing the province’s infrastructure.
Change to: The gas tax will pay for highway repair.
* Make sure you’re using it’s correctly. This word is commonly misused. It’s = it is or it has. Its = ownership.
* Watch for overused words, phrases and cliches.
In no uncertain terms
* Check out the Plain English Campaign website for free lists of cliches, overused words and phrases and examples of plain English writing: http://www.plainenglish.co.uk
* Numbers figures or words? In fiction all numbers are expressed in words.
* Correct usage of abbreviations for titles:
Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England
Abbreviation: HRH., Queen Elizabeth.