"Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few."
When I'm first laying down a draft, I ignore sentence structure and punctuation. So when I jump back into revisions, I've got my work cut out for me. And one thing I really zero in on is my verb usage.
I attempt to rid the manuscript of as many "to be" verbs as I can (which translates to was and were for me in past tense) and highlight where my weak verbs are anchored by adverbs.
The idea is to use strong verbs, which chops down word count, makes me concise, and strengthens my sentences.
Here are some examples of weak verb/adverbs pairs that can be replaced by stronger verbs:
slowly pull: drag or lug
gently touch: graze or brush
strongly place: jut, slam or jab
hold tight: grasp or clutch
run silently: dart or dash
step quickly: sprint or dash
voice growing rough: husky or gruff
grabs gently: tugs or pulls (not as strong as yanks)
turn around slowly: twist, coil, twirl
furiously shakes: tremble, shudder, quake
quickly looks up: head snaps up
walk slowly: inch or labor
slowly lift: tug, tow, or heave
step quietly: tiptoe, sneak, or creep
You get the idea.
Do you ever fall into this weak construction trap? Or are there others--aren't there always others? :-)