Silja Swaby, half Jamaican, half Finnish, is a marine biologist and author. Funded by Arts Council England, she has won competitions, and been placed in prizes and awards. She is working on a series of futuristic thrillers, featuring a female biologist whose quiet academic life takes a drastic turn. Silja has taken creative writing courses at Cambridge University and more recently Yale University, USA.

Silja tutors writers, gives workshops, and provides a critique service. She is happily unmarried and lives in deepest Somerset, UK.

Silja Swaby is pronounced Sil-yah Sway-bee.

September 03, 2009


While your word choice is also part of your style, overuse of common words isn’t good writing. The words ‘it’, ‘was’, and ‘there’ are the biggest culprits. Check your manuscript for these and other overused words by using the ‘Find’ command in the Edit menu. Tick the ‘highlight all items found in:’ box (bottom left) and select ‘Main document’.

Once each is marked in black go to your highlighter button in your formatting tool bar (looks like an old-fashioned rubber) and select a colour. Each occurrence of your chosen word will stand out in glorious technicolour. Then get editing!

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