Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Common Problems (Part 30 of 50)

Watch the use of words such as started to/began to. They imply incomplete action or action that's interrupted. I began to eat my cereal but the phone rang. I started to watch TV but fell asleep. Too many writers throw in such expressions, unaware that they refer to unfinished action.

In the examples below, the writing is not only more accurate but stronger if you omit those expressions.

* Jana began to move around the area. (Jana moved. . . )

* I have begun to include singing or listening to inspirational music (I include singing. . .)

* The poetry of Edgar Allan Poe began to take on new meaning. (The poetry of Edgar Allan Poe took. . . )

Unless I mean interrupted activity, 
I'll avoid using started to, and began to.


  1. Oh, I never thought of this, Cec! Thank you so much.

    BTW, my husband bought me Unleash the Writer Within for our anniversary today--the #1 item on my wish list. I began to read it... ooops! I read few pages this morning, and love it! Your candor is refreshing.

  2. I'm a fellow TWV2 member. I write for children. Following you. *waving* Super post. I do this a lot. I would love to remember to NOT do it. Would save a lot of time in the second drafts. :-)

  3. Perfect! I have gone back and forth with this and you've given the clarity I need. Weepus interruptus! (Also, because of your tips, I didn't just approach the room and shut the door without entering. Thanks!)

    I crept out of bed and found an empty lounge. I went in, shut the door, and started weeping; I cried helplessly, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”


What are your thoughts?