Writers’ Crutches: As and It

Something I want to point out to you budding writers out there are the two biggest writers crutches–as and it.

As Johnny leaned over her, brandishing a knife, Jane kicked him in the package. His eyes widened as he crumpled to the floor, clutching himself. Jane scrambled to her feet, picked it up, and as he moaned, she ran out the back door.

Ok, now that I have your attention–LOL–this is passable writing maybe. Something on par with what I read from midlist authors all the time. However, the passage suffers big-time from two things (among others)–it and as.

Johnny leaned over her, brandishing the knife, and Jane kicked him in the package. His eyes widened, he crumpled to the floor, clutching himself. She scrambled to her feet and snatched the blade. Ignoring his moans, she ran out the back door.

Do you see a difference? The second example, while certainly not stellar, is more immediate. The action is in your face. Everything is happening in the now, not as this happened, that did, too.

In my humble opinion, if writers would simply search their manuscripts for it and as, then endeavor to reword these two crutches out of their work the best they can (and you can’t all the time, only most of the time), they would immediately see a difference, a huge difference, in the quality of their work. Again in my opinion, by doing this one simple thing, a lot of mediocre writing would leap to good, while good writing might become great.

Just a thought…

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4 Responses to “Writers’ Crutches: As and It”

  1. anthonynorth Says:

    I tend to agree. Little words are the important ones. Sadly, too many writers concentrate on the big ones – usually ruining the piece.

  2. writeratlarge Says:

    I think those writers who lean on crutches like as and it are merely being lazy. Once a writer learns not to lean, even in rough drafts, their writing takes a huge evolutionary leap upward. Mine sure did.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. just1more Says:

    interesting. i shall have a play with this. thank you. πŸ™‚

  4. A. Fulkerson Says:

    This is good advice. It’s so easy – especially for a novice – to focus so intently on getting the story on paper, that style and flow can be neglected.

    Thanks

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