One Problem with Adjectives– Stating the Obvious

There are a lot of ways adjectives can mess you up, one of the worst is the tautology–that’s when the adjective has the same meaning as the word in modifies and therefore isn’t needed. Here are a few examples:

Dry desert

Closed fist

Overused cliché

Revolutionary new

Freezing cold

First priority

Evening sunset

Over exaggerate

Adequate enough

Dark-haired brunette



Take a Break from Punctuation

Do like Cormac McCarthy and work with only comas and periods for a while. Maybe take something you’ve already written and rewrite it without all those “weird little marks,” as he calls them. 
Watch your sentences become cleaner and tighter. It’s easier to listen to your drafts doing it this way, to make music with your words rather than just figuring how to make them play by a set of rules you learned in school. 
If you’re hardcore, cut out quotation marks too. You could be inviting a mess. But done carefully, writing without quotes will force you to work on tone. Let the reader know who’s speaking by developing your characters’ unique voices, not just putting tick marks around their words.