Obliterating the ‘to be’ verb

I am finding editing my own book is a lot more work then writing the damn thing! Currently I am working on getting rid of a majority of was/were verbs otherwise known as the ‘to be’ verbs. In counting those verbs in the 1st draft I found I used them 853 times in a 51000 word document. So my goal this first run through is to get rid of as many as I can. What I have discovered, besides it being very difficult to do, is it forces me to describe things more (show don’t tell) and really tightens up the paragraph.

I used the following website for some ideas on how to eradicate these verbs. http://bethestory.com/2011/03/07/7-ways-to-eradicate-the-copulative It has been a great help!

Here is an example of one of the paragraphs I have been working on.


So big difference right? Is it too much? Am I getting too descriptive? I like it and think it sets a good tone for the scene. Now for the rest of the book.


4 thoughts on “Obliterating the ‘to be’ verb

    • Few more details on which part? That was just one paragraph. What is going on in the paragraph continues on more in the next one. Do you think I should describe the weather more?

  1. My editor spanks me when I write “I could hear” “she could see”. That is also telling, apparently. She–my oh-so-mean editor–would suggest. “A low wind howled outside my window as I huddled under my blanket.” *shrugs*

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