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Chapter 11. Personal Best: Revising and ... > Less Can Be More: Revise by Deleting - Pg. 122

Personal Best: Revising and Editing Look For The big, huge, massive cloud completely covered over the sun. Passive voice Falling asleep is done by the average person in seven minutes. Revision The massive cloud covered the sun. Active voice The average person falls asleep in seven minutes. 122 Give it a shot with the following passage. See how much unnecessary material you can cut to improve this anecdote. Sherlock Holmes and Watson were camping in the wooded forest. They had gone to bed and were lying beneath the dark night sky. Holmes said, "Watson, look up to the sky. What is seen by you?" Write Angles Don't automatically revise the passive voice into the active voice. The passive voice is preferable if you don't want to assign blame or don't know who is doing the action. "Thousands and thousands and thousands of bright, shining, glittering stars are seen by me." "And what do all those thousands and thousands and thousands of bright, shining, glittering stars mean to you?" Holmes asked. "What I mean to say is that of all the stars, celes tial bodies, and planets in the giant universe, we are truly fortunate and lucky to be here on Earth. In light of the fact that we are tiny, small, and little in God's eyes, we should struggle every day to be worthy of our blessings. To get to the point, in a meteorological sense, it means a bright and sunny day will be had by us tomorrow. What does it mean to you, Holmes?" Write Angles Be ruthless with these windy fillers: as a matter of fact, because of the fact that, for the purpose of, in a very real sense, in light of the fact that, to get to the point, and what I mean to say. Cut them all from your writing! "To me, it means our tent has been stolen by someone." Here's a possible revision. Notice how eliminating the extra words and revising the passive voice into the active voice makes the writing much stronger. Sherlock Holmes and Watson were camping in the forest. They had gone to bed and were lying beneath the night sky. Holmes said, "Watson, look up. What do you see?"