Monday, April 18, 2011

Seven Tips to Kill Blah, Blah, Blah Writing

Blah, blah, blah writing is just that.  Imagine an old lady talking your ear off about nothing.  This can be small talk or simply someone going into far too many details than what’s necessary.

Okay, I’ll admit I used to be one of those people.  I guess because communicating came so easy to me, I felt the need to share every little detail when I told someone about my day.  Most people allowed me this luxury, but that was a mistake because I didn’t realize I was doing it.  Until one day…  A friend of mine told me to “cut to the chase”.  Then, the next time, he asked me to “skip the details” and tell him what happened.  By the third time, I wondered if I talked too much, and if I did, why did this guy put up with me?  He said I didn’t do it all the time, only when I was excited or upset about something.  But since then, I paid closer attention to my conversations and am cured.  I think.

However, writers tend to do the same thing on paper.  And I’ll bet they don’t realize it.

In case you’re one of those writers, here are seven tips to help you kill blah, blah, blah writing:

-Use specific nouns.  Instead of a lethal hand-held gun, call it a Glock.  Instead of whole grain cereal shaped as O’s, call it Cheerios.

-Vary sentence lengths.  Blah, blah, blah writing usually means too many long sentences, which slows the pace.  It’s all right to have some longer sentences, but you should have a mix of long, short, and medium length sentences to keep things fresh.

-Replace adverbs with vivid verbs.

-Cut out repetitive words and redundancies.

-Rewrite clichés to make them new.

-Don’t clump descriptions into a paragraph.  Scatter the information within the text.

-Read your pages out loud.  If you sound like that little, old lady talking your ear off, then maybe you’re doing the same to your reader.

What other advice can you give to help writers eliminate blah, blah, blah writing?


  1. YOu pretty much nailed it. Those are the main issues. Write it like you're talking to friends.

  2. Great list. Good analogy with that little old lady chatterbox (I have one in my life--cringe.) The little old lady isn't listening to herself. She just spills words out without processing them. I think that's the problem in writing, too. In a first draft, we don't know where the story's going, so we throw all the words on paper. But once we figure out the scene's goal, we can cut out a whole bunch.

  3. Pk Hrezo: Unless you tell your friends to much, too.

    Anne: Great point. And there's nothing wrong with writing it all out in the draft as long as you don't fall in love with your words and refuse to "kill your darlings".

    Lynnette Labelle

  4. Never thought of reading out loud. I'm going to try that. Great advice.

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    Edge of Your Seat Romance