Common sense will tell most freelancers that there are some “dirty words” that some magazines just won’t print. However, many common-place words such as “socialites,” “edgy” and even “workaholic” are absolute no-no’s on many editors’ lists. In the November issue of Writer’s Digest, nonfiction columnist David Fryxell explains how writers can avoid jargon, empty words and cliches … and ultimately avoid the wrath of editors.
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid the words that irk editors:
- Avoid using slang. Even if you think it’s timely, it won’t be by the time it hits newsstands.
- Use the correct word even if you must look it up in the dictionary.
- Adjectives and adverbs are “empty words.” Delete them.
- Choose words and phrases carefully to be as specific as possible.
- If you can cut a word without changing the meaning of the sentence, do it.
- Cut all cliches. They are almost never as witty as you think.
Read David Fryxell’s complete Nonfiction column in each issue of Writer’s Digest.