Usually, however, I spend more time cutting than adding. Repetitive phrases or a scene that takes away from the story are common problems, but more often than not all I do is cut unnecessary words. Authors need to keep readers engaged in the story, and these words can stall the sentences and take away from the reader's sense of being present in the story. They slam on the brakes when you should be moving forward.
She could feel the air around her getting cooler.
She felt the air around her getting cooler.
He started to walk in that direction.
He walked in that direction.
When that happened, she would turn away.
When that happened, she turned away.
Words combined with the "To Be" verb (including is, was, etc) can often be cut; “-ing” words (gerunds) can slow a sentence as well.
The car was speeding in his direction.
The car sped in his direction.
She is going to drive me crazy.
She will drive me crazy.
If you can change a “To Be” verb into something stronger, do it!
Her daughter is a very enthusiastic participant in the program.
Her daughter participates enthusiastically in the program.
Sentences which begin with “To Be” verbs are usually weak, though there is always room for a few. Just try to minimize how many you use and replace the “To Be” verbs with better verbs.
There are many reasons why that method didn't work.
That method didn't work for many reasons.
It was time for them to say farewell.
The time had come for them to say farewell.
Run a Search through your work and discover whether or not you are guilty of stalling your writing!