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I have noticed lately, that when I write letters describing things I've done recently, I default too often to sentences that look like "We did such-and-such, which was really great." I notice that I often have to append the "which..." to almost every event description, just to get the point across that I enjoyed something. Is there a better way to go about this, or a fix to this fundamental problem?

I know there is this idea of show, don't tell, at least when it comes to writing a story, but I'm not sure how to apply that here usually.

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Do a search for "which was." (or whatever your problem structure is)

Set up a checklist of five different ways to rewrite it:
1) We did such-and-such. I enjoyed it.
2) When we did such-and-such, everyone had a great time.
3) Plus we really had fun that time we did such-and-such.
4) Have you ever done such-and-such? What a blast.
5) Such-and-such is so much fun; I have to tell you about the most recent time.
et cetera.

Then go through and rewrite. You can leave some of the originals, but vary them until your ear stops tripping over it.

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Just write your first draft naturally, including whatever peculiarities you generate. Then edit and revise. Your first draft is for getting your ideas out, and revision is for making it read well.

In many cases, like in your example, "We did such-and-such, which was really great," you can just delete that phrase. The words you use to describe the such-and-such can convey your enjoyment of it.

  • Yes. "which was" is analyzing/explaining/telling the reader what to think/feel about what a it. That is only necessary if the rest doesn't already convey that. As you note, "show don't tell". This probably applies to all communication. Effective writing conveys an experience (directly to the reader), not a description of an experience (that you had). – Joe Mar 23 '16 at 6:14

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