Today I'm focusing on prepositions - prepositional phrases to be exact. One of the signs your writing is leaning toward the wordy side is an excess of prepositional phrases.
First, what are prepositions? A preposition is a word that shows a relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. I'm not going to show all of them, you can google "preposition list" for more, but here are a few of the most used.
of, to, at, by, for, onto, with, toward, along, above, over, between, onto, below
At the barn, the rider placed the saddle onto the horse's back, over the blanket, and led him through the trees of the large property behind the fence.
Exhausted? When you feel a repetitive rhythm (duh duh duh, duh duh duh) there's a pretty good chance you've overdone the prepositional phrases.
Often we're trying to add description, but it could be done cleaner. When a critique partner mentions tightening the passage, removing or rearranging prepositional phrases can be the key.
The door of the barn... could be: The barn door...
The gate to the pasture... could be : The pasture gate...
The stream ran below the bridge... could be: Tom leaned over the bridge rail. His eyes followed the waves crashing against rocks. (Yes, against is a preposition, but the first sentence is boring, telling, impersonal, and we learn so much more in the second. You don't want to delete them, just use them effectively.)
The sneer on the face of the saleslady... could be: The saleslady's sneer... (you know a sneer belongs on a face!)
What do you think? Have you seen writers completely overdo the prepositional phrase?
My husband had a grand time jumping him. We used him for lessons and a friend (the owner of Flicka) rode him for his and her first endurance rides. They were both hooked.