D. Randall Faro
Review and Revise
A recent online news article included this sentence: The dog could have potentially drowned. “Could have” and “potentially” are the same thing. “Potentially” is all together unnecessary.
This phenomenon keeps popping up everywhere. Namely, using unnecessary words. Be it authors or proofreaders, everyone makes mistakes, but this is one writers should passionately strive to avoid.
Even though my novel, Bazo, is of substantial length, one lesson I learned during the writing and numerous revisions is that brevity is next to godliness. The fifth (and last) time I read my entire novel looking for mistakes and places for improvement, I made 273 changes. A goodly percentage of those were either excising complete sentences or using fewer words to convey the same meaning. As I proceed with the sequel, Gunnar, I am highly aware of being less wordy, more concise.
Life itself can become overly cluttered with too much of this or that. A common modern American experience often seems to be a time-pressured life with so much to do that four hours is a good night’s sleep. Every nook and cranny of the clock is filled with a combination of have-to-do and want-to-do items. Activities galore leave little or no time for reflective solitude or just plain doing nothing. Everyone has their own concept of what is “necessary,” but all too often items are put on the list that are not close to fitting that definition.
As a novel needs several re-examinations leading to possible positive revisions, so would a person’s life profit from the same occasional review and modification. If one feels burdened by a life that seems too packed, most of the time there are choices that can be made leading to some measure of relief. The key factor is to actually do the review and explore alternative possibilities. It often leads to some pleasant surprises.