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How to


Kill
A Word
by Patrick E. McLean
g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
How to


Kill
A Word
by Patrick E. McLean
g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
How to


Kill
A Word
by Patrick E. McLean
g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
Ernest Hemingway, editing in Cuba circa 1940.
“ The first draft
  of anything
        ”
 is shit.
       Ernest Hemingway
“If you catch
 an adjective,
 kill it.”
 Mark Twain
“If you catch
 an adjective,
 kill it.”
     “ Revising down to the
       bare essentials is
 Mark Twain
       always a little like
       murdering children,
       but it must be done.”
     Stephen King
Why do all these writers
hate words so much?
The businessadjective, kill it.”
                 of writing,
“If you catch an
rightly understood, is largely
a matter of killing words.
The businessadjective, kill it.”
                 of writing,
“If you catch an
rightly understood, is largely
a matter of killing words.
The businessadjective, kill it.”
                 of writing,
“If you catch an
rightly understood, is largely
a matter of killing words.
It’s a sad fact of modern
existence that nobody has
enough attention. In fact, it.”
 “If you catch an adjective, kill
some thought leaders are
referring to this as the age of
distraction.
It’s a sad fact of modern
existence that nobody has
enough attention. In fact, it.”
 “If you catch an adjective, kill
some thought leaders are
referring to this as the age of
distraction.
It’s a sad fact of modern
existence that nobody has
enough attention. In fact, it.”
 “If you catch an adjective, kill
some thought leaders are
referring to this as the age of
distraction.
Each additional word you use demands
more of a reader’s attention. While
transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice,
   “If you  and style tricks are often
they involve a ruthless and unforgiving
trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words
make it harder to get to your point.
Assuming you have one to begin with.
Each additional word you use demands
more of a reader’s attention. While
transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice,
   “If you  and style tricks are often
they involve a ruthless and unforgiving
trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words
make it harder to get to your point.
Assuming you have one to begin with.
Each additional word you use demands
more of a reader’s attention. While
transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice,
   “If you  and style tricks are often
they involve a ruthless and unforgiving
trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words
make it harder to get to your point.
Assuming you have one to begin with.
Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins




I ask them to take a poem                I want them to waterski
and hold it up to the light              across the surface of a poem
like a color slide                       waving at the author's name on the
                                         shore.
or press an ear against its hive.
                                         But all they want to do
I say drop a mouse into a poem
                                         is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and watch him probe his way out,
                                         and torture a confession out of it.
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.   They begin beating it with a hose
                                         to find out what it really means.
If you are writing
anything other than
poetry...
Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins




I ask them to take a poem                I want them to waterski
and hold it up to the light              across the surface of a poem
like a color slide                       waving at the author's name on the
                                         shore.
or press an ear against its hive.
                                         But all they want to do
I say drop a mouse into a poem
                                         is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and watch him probe his way out,
                                         and torture a confession out of it.
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.   They begin beating it with a hose
                                         to find out what it really means.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the
shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
When you edit, you want
to interrogate each word.
When you edit, you want
to interrogate each word.
When you edit, you want
to interrogate each word.
If you find one that is
unclear, mumbles, or
otherwise doesn’t have
its story straight...
If you find one that is
unclear, mumbles, or
otherwise doesn’t have
its story straight...
If you find one that is
unclear,
Delete it with extreme prejudice.
Delete it with extreme prejudice.
Delete it without further ado.
Delete it without further ado.
Kill it.
Like this:
However, some chairs are more
comfortable than others. In fact,
some chairs are downright
uncomfortable. Some have itchy
fabrics, uncomfortable seat
bottoms, and awkward side arms.
ey can be excessively big or
obnoxiously small.
However, some chairs are more
comfortable than others. In fact,
some chairs are downright
uncomfortable. Some have itchy
fabrics, uncomfortable seat
bottoms, and awkward side arms.
ey can be excessively big or
obnoxiously small.
However, some chairs are more
comfortable than others. In fact,
some chairs are downright
uncomfortable. Some have itchy
fabrics, uncomfortable seat
bottoms, and awkward side arms.
ey can be excessively big or
obnoxiously small.
Some chairs are downright
uncomfortable. ey can have itchy
fabric, uncomfortable seat bottoms
or awkward side arms. ey can be
too big or too small.
That’s still not great
prose. But it’s stronger,
faster, better.
That’s still not great
prose. But it’s stronger,
faster, better.
That’s still not great
prose. But it’s stronger,
faster, better.
ere is much conversation in dog
circles about why the American Pit Bull
Terrier is only recognized by the United
Kennel Club and not the AKC and why
some dogs are dual registered in both
kennel clubs.
ere is much conversation in dog
circles about why the American Pit Bull
Terrier is only recognized by the United
Kennel Club and not the AKC and why
some dogs are dual registered in both
kennel clubs.
ere is much conversation in dog
circles about why the American Pit Bull
Terrier is only recognized by the United
Kennel Club and not the AKC and why
some dogs are dual registered in both
kennel clubs.
Why is the American Pit Bull Terrier
recognized by the United Kennel Club
but not the American Kennel Club?
Any other questions or
nuances of breed
classification go in
additional sentences.
This question seems to
be a better way to begin
the paragraph.
Any other questions or
nuances of breed
classification go in
additional sentences.
This question seems to
be a better way to begin
the paragraph.
Any other questions or
nuances of breed
classification go in
additional sentences.
This question seems to
be a better way to begin
the paragraph.
Any other questions or
nuances of breed
classification go in
additional sentences.
This question is seems to
be a better way to begin
the paragraph.
When looking at your model week and
your sales process, you have to ask
yourself how that activity is going to
contribute to bringing you closer to
your goals. A good sales manager would
keep you from rationalizing. ey would
keep you honest and prevent you from
putting more emphasis on activities that
you like over activities that actually
generate the right outcomes.
When looking at your model week and
your sales process, you have to ask
yourself how that activity is going to
contribute to bringing you closer to
your goals. A good sales manager would
keep you from rationalizing. ey would
keep you honest and prevent you from
putting more emphasis on activities that
you like over activities that actually
generate the right outcomes.
When looking at your model week and
your sales process, you have to ask
yourself how that activity is going to
contribute to bringing you closer to
your goals. A good sales manager would
keep you from rationalizing. ey would
keep you honest and prevent you from
putting more emphasis on activities that
you like over activities that actually
generate the right outcomes.
Still too damn long.
Still too damn long.
Still too damn long.
Still too damn long.
Still too damn long.
Still too (I’ll keep working.) long.
When looking at your model week and
your sales process, you have to ask
yourself how that activity is going to
contribute to bringing you closer to
your goals. A good sales manager would
keep you from rationalizing. ey would
keep you honest and prevent you from
putting more emphasis on activities that
you like over activities that actually
generate the right outcomes.
When looking at your model week and
your sales process, you have to ask
yourself how each activity will
contribute to move you closer to your
goals. A good sales manager would keep
you from rationalizing. ey would keep
you honest and prevent you from
wasting time on activities that won’t get
you where you need to go.
When looking at your model week, ask
how each activity will move you closer
to your goals. A good sales manager
would prevent you from wasting time on
activities that won’t get you where you
need to go.
And there’s still more
 that could be done.
And there’s still more
 that could be done.
And there’s still more
 that could be done.
It’s not always so
“If you catch an adjective, kill it.”
complicated.
You can instantly and dramatically
improve your blog writing skills and
immediately explode your profits and
skyrocket your online success by
following the spectacular, simple, and
practical tips found in this
groundbreaking new free blog post.
You can instantly and dramatically
improve your blog writing skills and
immediately explode your profits and
skyrocket your online success by
following the spectacular, simple, and
practical tips found in this
groundbreaking new free blog post.
Sometimes you get to
“If you catch an adjective, kill it.”
kill all the words.
“If you catch an adjective, kill it.”

                  :-)
How to Start the Slaughter
1. Read it catch an adjective, kill it.”
 “If you out loud.
2. Cross out all the adjectives and adverbs.
3. Read it out loud again.
4. Rewrite so it makes sense.
“I am more suspicious
 of adjectives than at
 any other time in all
 my born days.”

Carl Sandburg, aged 81
Omit Needless Words

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no
unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences,
for the same reason that a drawing should have no
unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
is requires not that the writer make all his sentences
short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only
in outline, but that every word tell.

William Strunk and E.B. White
Omit Needless Words

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no
unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences,
for the same reason that a drawing should have no
unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
is requires not that the writer make all his sentences
short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only
in outline, but that every word tell.

William Strunk and E.B. White
Omit Needless Words

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no
unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences,
for the same reason that a drawing should have no
unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
is requires not that the writer make all his sentences
short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only
in outline, but that every word tell.

William Strunk and E.B. White
“ There’s no sentence that’s too
  short in the eyes of God.”
 William Zinnser
“Be precise in use of words,
 and expect precision of
 others.

Watch for error,
even in Holy Scripture”

Pierre Abelard
Please direct all questions, comments, rude
“If you catchaboutadjective, comma, and
remarks, rants   an the serial kill it.”
requests for speaking, group classes, individual
coaching or command performances to:

patrick@goodwordsrightorder.com
If you liked this e-book –
“If you catch an adjective, with it.”
more importantly, if you agreed kill it –
please share it with everybody you know
and a few people you don’t.




                  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
If you liked this e-book
“If you catch an adjective, with it.”
more importantly, if you agreed kill it –
please share it with everybody you know
and a few people you don’t.




                  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
If you liked this e-book
“If youimportantly, adjective, kill it.” –
– more    catch an if you agreed with it
please share it with everybody you know
and a few people you don’t.




                  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
“If you catch an adjective, kill it.”

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How to Kill a Word

  • 1. How to Kill A Word by Patrick E. McLean g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
  • 2. How to Kill A Word by Patrick E. McLean g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
  • 3. How to Kill A Word by Patrick E. McLean g o o d w o r d s r i g h t o r d e r. c o m
  • 4. Ernest Hemingway, editing in Cuba circa 1940.
  • 5. “ The first draft of anything ” is shit. Ernest Hemingway
  • 6. “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” Mark Twain
  • 7. “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” “ Revising down to the bare essentials is Mark Twain always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” Stephen King
  • 8. Why do all these writers hate words so much?
  • 9. The businessadjective, kill it.” of writing, “If you catch an rightly understood, is largely a matter of killing words.
  • 10. The businessadjective, kill it.” of writing, “If you catch an rightly understood, is largely a matter of killing words.
  • 11. The businessadjective, kill it.” of writing, “If you catch an rightly understood, is largely a matter of killing words.
  • 12. It’s a sad fact of modern existence that nobody has enough attention. In fact, it.” “If you catch an adjective, kill some thought leaders are referring to this as the age of distraction.
  • 13. It’s a sad fact of modern existence that nobody has enough attention. In fact, it.” “If you catch an adjective, kill some thought leaders are referring to this as the age of distraction.
  • 14. It’s a sad fact of modern existence that nobody has enough attention. In fact, it.” “If you catch an adjective, kill some thought leaders are referring to this as the age of distraction.
  • 15. Each additional word you use demands more of a reader’s attention. While transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice, “If you and style tricks are often they involve a ruthless and unforgiving trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words make it harder to get to your point. Assuming you have one to begin with.
  • 16. Each additional word you use demands more of a reader’s attention. While transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice, “If you and style tricks are often they involve a ruthless and unforgiving trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words make it harder to get to your point. Assuming you have one to begin with.
  • 17. Each additional word you use demands more of a reader’s attention. While transitionscatch an adjective, kill it.”nice, “If you and style tricks are often they involve a ruthless and unforgiving trade-off. Beyond a point, additional words make it harder to get to your point. Assuming you have one to begin with.
  • 18. Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins I ask them to take a poem I want them to waterski and hold it up to the light across the surface of a poem like a color slide waving at the author's name on the shore. or press an ear against its hive. But all they want to do I say drop a mouse into a poem is tie the poem to a chair with rope and watch him probe his way out, and torture a confession out of it. or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.
  • 19. If you are writing anything other than poetry...
  • 20. Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins I ask them to take a poem I want them to waterski and hold it up to the light across the surface of a poem like a color slide waving at the author's name on the shore. or press an ear against its hive. But all they want to do I say drop a mouse into a poem is tie the poem to a chair with rope and watch him probe his way out, and torture a confession out of it. or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.
  • 21. I want them to waterski across the surface of a poem waving at the author's name on the shore. But all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.
  • 22. When you edit, you want to interrogate each word.
  • 23. When you edit, you want to interrogate each word.
  • 24. When you edit, you want to interrogate each word.
  • 25. If you find one that is unclear, mumbles, or otherwise doesn’t have its story straight...
  • 26. If you find one that is unclear, mumbles, or otherwise doesn’t have its story straight...
  • 27. If you find one that is unclear,
  • 28. Delete it with extreme prejudice.
  • 29. Delete it with extreme prejudice.
  • 30. Delete it without further ado.
  • 31. Delete it without further ado.
  • 34. However, some chairs are more comfortable than others. In fact, some chairs are downright uncomfortable. Some have itchy fabrics, uncomfortable seat bottoms, and awkward side arms. ey can be excessively big or obnoxiously small.
  • 35. However, some chairs are more comfortable than others. In fact, some chairs are downright uncomfortable. Some have itchy fabrics, uncomfortable seat bottoms, and awkward side arms. ey can be excessively big or obnoxiously small.
  • 36. However, some chairs are more comfortable than others. In fact, some chairs are downright uncomfortable. Some have itchy fabrics, uncomfortable seat bottoms, and awkward side arms. ey can be excessively big or obnoxiously small.
  • 37. Some chairs are downright uncomfortable. ey can have itchy fabric, uncomfortable seat bottoms or awkward side arms. ey can be too big or too small.
  • 38. That’s still not great prose. But it’s stronger, faster, better.
  • 39. That’s still not great prose. But it’s stronger, faster, better.
  • 40. That’s still not great prose. But it’s stronger, faster, better.
  • 41. ere is much conversation in dog circles about why the American Pit Bull Terrier is only recognized by the United Kennel Club and not the AKC and why some dogs are dual registered in both kennel clubs.
  • 42. ere is much conversation in dog circles about why the American Pit Bull Terrier is only recognized by the United Kennel Club and not the AKC and why some dogs are dual registered in both kennel clubs.
  • 43. ere is much conversation in dog circles about why the American Pit Bull Terrier is only recognized by the United Kennel Club and not the AKC and why some dogs are dual registered in both kennel clubs.
  • 44. Why is the American Pit Bull Terrier recognized by the United Kennel Club but not the American Kennel Club?
  • 45. Any other questions or nuances of breed classification go in additional sentences. This question seems to be a better way to begin the paragraph.
  • 46. Any other questions or nuances of breed classification go in additional sentences. This question seems to be a better way to begin the paragraph.
  • 47. Any other questions or nuances of breed classification go in additional sentences. This question seems to be a better way to begin the paragraph.
  • 48. Any other questions or nuances of breed classification go in additional sentences. This question is seems to be a better way to begin the paragraph.
  • 49. When looking at your model week and your sales process, you have to ask yourself how that activity is going to contribute to bringing you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would keep you from rationalizing. ey would keep you honest and prevent you from putting more emphasis on activities that you like over activities that actually generate the right outcomes.
  • 50. When looking at your model week and your sales process, you have to ask yourself how that activity is going to contribute to bringing you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would keep you from rationalizing. ey would keep you honest and prevent you from putting more emphasis on activities that you like over activities that actually generate the right outcomes.
  • 51. When looking at your model week and your sales process, you have to ask yourself how that activity is going to contribute to bringing you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would keep you from rationalizing. ey would keep you honest and prevent you from putting more emphasis on activities that you like over activities that actually generate the right outcomes.
  • 52. Still too damn long.
  • 53. Still too damn long.
  • 54. Still too damn long.
  • 55. Still too damn long.
  • 56. Still too damn long. Still too (I’ll keep working.) long.
  • 57. When looking at your model week and your sales process, you have to ask yourself how that activity is going to contribute to bringing you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would keep you from rationalizing. ey would keep you honest and prevent you from putting more emphasis on activities that you like over activities that actually generate the right outcomes.
  • 58. When looking at your model week and your sales process, you have to ask yourself how each activity will contribute to move you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would keep you from rationalizing. ey would keep you honest and prevent you from wasting time on activities that won’t get you where you need to go.
  • 59. When looking at your model week, ask how each activity will move you closer to your goals. A good sales manager would prevent you from wasting time on activities that won’t get you where you need to go.
  • 60. And there’s still more that could be done.
  • 61. And there’s still more that could be done.
  • 62. And there’s still more that could be done.
  • 63. It’s not always so “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” complicated.
  • 64. You can instantly and dramatically improve your blog writing skills and immediately explode your profits and skyrocket your online success by following the spectacular, simple, and practical tips found in this groundbreaking new free blog post.
  • 65. You can instantly and dramatically improve your blog writing skills and immediately explode your profits and skyrocket your online success by following the spectacular, simple, and practical tips found in this groundbreaking new free blog post.
  • 66. Sometimes you get to “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” kill all the words.
  • 67. “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” :-)
  • 68. How to Start the Slaughter 1. Read it catch an adjective, kill it.” “If you out loud. 2. Cross out all the adjectives and adverbs. 3. Read it out loud again. 4. Rewrite so it makes sense.
  • 69. “I am more suspicious of adjectives than at any other time in all my born days.” Carl Sandburg, aged 81
  • 70. Omit Needless Words Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. is requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. William Strunk and E.B. White
  • 71. Omit Needless Words Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. is requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. William Strunk and E.B. White
  • 72. Omit Needless Words Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. is requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. William Strunk and E.B. White
  • 73. “ There’s no sentence that’s too short in the eyes of God.” William Zinnser
  • 74. “Be precise in use of words, and expect precision of others. Watch for error, even in Holy Scripture” Pierre Abelard
  • 75. Please direct all questions, comments, rude “If you catchaboutadjective, comma, and remarks, rants an the serial kill it.” requests for speaking, group classes, individual coaching or command performances to: patrick@goodwordsrightorder.com
  • 76. If you liked this e-book – “If you catch an adjective, with it.” more importantly, if you agreed kill it – please share it with everybody you know and a few people you don’t. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 77. If you liked this e-book “If you catch an adjective, with it.” more importantly, if you agreed kill it – please share it with everybody you know and a few people you don’t. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 78. If you liked this e-book “If youimportantly, adjective, kill it.” – – more catch an if you agreed with it please share it with everybody you know and a few people you don’t. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
  • 79. “If you catch an adjective, kill it.”