This is a professional writer’s secret that I’m sharing with you and if you elect to share it, I just hope you’ll do so with care and reverence. It’s a secret that will help you make more sales, land more pieces in markets that are eligible for impressive prizes, and generally succeed as a writer. I’ve been using this one little trick for YEARS and it has definitely helped my sales improve.
Here it is, then. The professional writer’s guide to better, more marketable writing….
When you get a green squiggle in Word, rewrite that sentence until the squiggle disappears.
There are times when a green squiggle is desirable. One of these times is when you’re comfortable with sparingly employing sentence fragments to serve as poetic elements in key passages. And when I say sparingly, I don’t mean “one or two per 5-page story” I mean “one or two per 250-page novel.” Another such time is when you wish to create a taciturn or rustic tone that serves the purpose of the narrative. This tone limits the emotional spectrum and scope of what can be said, but it conveys certain negative sentiments incredibly well, most notably regret and nostalgia. And there are other occasions but suffering their own unique limitations that demand the green squiggle occasionally grace the virtual page.
Cleanliness of copy will move your story out of the slush pile and into the hands of an editor. If your piece is easy to read and isn’t cluttered with red and green squiggles when it gets opened in Word, then the reader won’t be distracted or form an otherwise unfavorable opinion of your piece (or of you as a writer). If your piece is easy to read, then more of your piece will be read before it is either rejected or passed along for further consideration.