When someone mentioned paring down unnecessary words on my crit forum today and gave an example--the gal stopped ALMOST A FOOT from the edge--someone else jumped in to say, "but how many people have the ability to be PRECISE?" If you stop short of an edge with heart pounding and danger at your back, do you stop to measure the distance?
And the lovely crit partner Nina Croft said this, "It's not about being precise. It's about pretending." *clapping*
I can't stop thinking about this concept. The reader [ME] is able to suspend belief in something ordinary--like not really knowing the measurement, because we need to see, without a doubt. Think about it...
If the gal ran toward the edge of the cliff and skidded to a stop almost a few feet[or even inches] from the edge. The reader is left hanging. I'm left hanging. So, what is she really? Be precise, right?! Keep me on the edge of my seat!
And cut out all the fatty words... almost, tried, started <-- why say she started to look around when you can just say, she looked around? If you add the phrase, when [something happened], then you're messing with chronology. Even there you can use a phrase like this: At the sound of the church bells, she looked around, every nerve in her body humming with tension. Someone was out there. Watching. Waiting.
Have a great week.