Tighten writing by cutting begin fallacy

To keep up a story’s pace – and hence the reader’s interest – you’ll want to write as tightly as possible. Metaphorically, you’ll squeeze all you can from your words so that a sentence is as compact as possible with no extra, unnecessary words spilling out.

One way to achieve that is to eliminate the begin fallacy. This occurs when the writer introduces an action to the reader by saying “began to,” as in “My nerves began to calm.”

The writer can cut “began to”, however, and tighten the wording by saying, “My nerves calmed”. Notice how it’s not only a shorter sentence but a stronger one because “calmed” is the main verb rather than “began”.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.