Very helpful stuff! I understand how all of them would help improve a text (and I really like the one about dialogue!), the only one I'm unclear about is adjectives... how are adjectives bad? And more to the point, what could you use instead to descibe how something looked? All colours for example are not possible to substitute... or have I got this all wrong? Is it certain vague adjectives (big, small) when you could use more precise ones?
I guess it depends on what the meaning of meaning is, but does everybody agree that there's no difference between "hunting" and "hunting down"?For example, in “Hunting Down The Pleonasm”, ‘down’ is pleonastic. Cut it and the meaning of the sentence does not alter.
A lot depends on context. In the example quoted, no, there's not any difference.
Here again, to me there's a subtle difference in what's implied. "I just know he's the killer" suggests, for example, that evidence has been presented that the fellow is not the killer, but the speaker/narrator is insisting that he still believes the guy is the killer and is emphatically dismissing the counter-evidence, maybe even trying to convince himself. Somehow the "just" yields that particular meaning.With your example just above, both sentences really do have the same meaning. 'Know' is emphasized in both - the 'just' doesn't add anything to the meaning in the second example. If you're wanting depth of feeling, you can just (<-- chuckle) italicize the 'know' to achieve that.
Mmm, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt. That's the thing about "guidelines" to me. Narration can be very much like dialogue. That's my overriding point--that each example, each sentence, each phrase, each word in each situation, deserves its own special consideration, which following rules too closely can neglect.But your example looks to be dialogue. Dialogue doesn't really follow the same guidelines as narrative.
Richard, points taken, you make the differences appear obvious.
I know you probably don't mean my extreme scenario but when I read the rule about people not smiling I had this image in my head of a novel filled with miserable sods.
And in my sentence above you could remove 'no' and the meaning would not be altered in any way - and you would save yourself two commas.
Works in the genre and franchise I'm writing. A lot of Klingons and Vulcans standing around glowering at people.
Is there a shortage of commas? Maybe I need to start recycling mine.
11: Avoid sounding ‘writerly’. Better to dirty up your prose. When you sound like a writer, your voice has crept in and authorial intrusion is always unwelcome. In the best writing, the author is invisible.
Here again, to me there's a subtle difference in what's implied. "I just know he's the killer" suggests, for example, that evidence has been presented that the fellow is not the killer, but the speaker/narrator is insisting that he still believes the guy is the killer and is emphatically dismissing the counter-evidence, maybe even trying to convince himself. Somehow the "just" yields that particular meaning.
13: Don’t confuse the reader. If you write something you think might be unclear, it is. Big time. Change it or cut it.
32: If something works, forget about the rule that says it shouldn’t.