Feeding in the information

One method of avoiding this kind of over-emphasis is to feed the information to the reader in snippets.

If it is raining heavily, then have your character run for shelter, or struggle for a few seconds with an uncooperative umbrella. An impression conveyed with a few well-chosen verbs, adverbs and adjectives will be far more effective than wordy description, hammering home a point made early in the first sentence.

Economy with words not only improves the quality of your writing, it also makes your work a more attractive proposition for prospective publishers. Bearing this in mind, try rewriting the above passage in a more effective and subtle way. You will find that, by cutting out any superfluous information and including a character to react to the conditions, the piece will be far more evocative and probably a lot shorter.

(A suggested rewrite of the above exercise can be found at the back of the book.)

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