Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Art of Brewing Beer and Wine

One of my favorite hobbies was brewing homemade beer and wine. I felt satisfied sitting in a recliner watching TV and drinking something that I made in my kitchen. My home brews had a more mellow flavor than the store bought beers and wines. One of the best beers I ever drank was brewed at home - a Canadian Draft wheat beer. Therefore, I wrote this blog to depart my knowledge to readers who want to start home brewing.

Please check your local laws and regulations about home brewing. This blogger takes no responsibility for readers violating the law in their jurisdiction.

Water


Water is a critical component in brewing a delicious beer. A brewer would never use foul smelling water because the water departs its taste to the brew. On the other hand, brewers cannot use distilled water or water passed through an osmosis filter. Both methods remove minerals from the water. Yeast needs minerals from the water to thrive and grow. I developed a method to control the quality and consistency. I always make two-gallon batches. I would buy one gallon of quality spring water and one gallon of distilled water. That way, I reduce the variations in the spring water quality and ensure the yeast has plenty of minerals to thrive and grow.

Yeast

Yeast constitutes another critical component in brewing beer. Yeasts are microorganisms that eat the sugar and convert the sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Thus, we are drinking the yeast’s waste products.

Brewers can use baker’s yeast from any supermarket. However, the yeast imparts flavors to the brew, and the baker’s yeast would give the brew a bread taste. Companies use baker’s yeast to leaven bread while they employ brewer’s yeast to ferment wine and beer.

Brewers can use baker’s yeast to ferment a brew. However, as companies produce a batch of bread, they recycle some of the yeast from the last batch and add it to the next batch. Subsequently, baker’s yeast adapts to bread dough after generations after generations.

I recommend novices buy brewer’s yeast from a home brewing website. Prices range between $1 and $5. Different strains of yeasts depart a variety of flavors to the beer, including nutty, fruity, or buttery flavors that complement a brew’s taste. Thus, we begin the art of brewing. Minute changes in ingredients or environment can affect the flavor of beer or wine.

We first must activate the yeast. Take a clean glass and spoon, and pour boiling water over the glass and spoon to sterilize them. Next, fill the glass with spring water and add a tablespoon of sugar. Then add a pinch of yeast. We just need a little yeast and can seal the yeast package and refrigerate it for other batches. 

Once the yeast hits the water, they start eating the sugar and multiply rapidly. The water’s temperature must lie between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too cold, we will not activate the yeast. If we add the yeast to hot water, we can kill them.

Then cover the glass with a clean lid, so dirt and dust do not fall into the glass. I show healthy, growing yeast in a glass in the picture below. Carbon dioxide forms bubbles on the water’s surface while the water becomes murky from the active yeast.


Brewing Material

We do not need to buy expensive containers to brew a wine or beer. A person can go to the discount store and buy a gallon or two-gallon pitcher. I bought a two-gallon pitcher from Walmart that I show below. Many online brewery stores over price their merchandise. However, we must select a plastic that will not leech chemicals into our brew. Plastic manufacturers know people will use food containers to store food so those containers should be okay. However, we want to avoid plastic containers in the household aisle that people use to clean or store non-food items.


Looking at the picture, I left roughly two inches of free space at the container’s top. Yeast fermenting vigorously creates foam. Free space helps keep the foam inside the container. The spout is located about half-inch from the bottom. As the yeast die, they settle to the bottom of the container. The spout has enough height to let the yeast settle to the bottom and lets the brewer pour the liquid into containers. Although yeast residues contain vitamin Bs, they have an extremely bitter taste.

Before I use the container, I clean the container thoroughly with dish soap and rinse. I even clean the dispenser. Then I pour in hot water, close the lid tightly, and shake the container violently. The hot water kills the microorganisms. Brewers never use bleach or strong chemicals, because trace chemicals can contaminate the batch. Brewers can buy sanitizer from the online brewing stores.

Your First Brew

Yeast can ferment any juice or wort. For novices, I recommend their first brew should be an apple juice or apple cider wine. Juice and cider differ as companies make apple juice by filtering the pulp and fiber from the apple cider. Apple wine is the easiest to make, and apple juice produces a mellow amber color with a good taste. However, we can make wine from any juice with sugar. Kroger’s have several naturally frozen juices fortified with Vitamin C that works well. I show a picture below. I always buy natural juices and avoid juices with artificial sugars or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is an artificial sugar made from corn. Corn contains trace amounts of sugar.


Brewers buy their favorite juice or fruit and ferment it into wine. If they use the whole fruit, they remove the seeds and puree the fruit in a blender. They can also use natural grape juice from the store to ferment into wine. Nevertheless, wineries grow special strains of grapes to produce their wine. At best, a homemade wine would taste better than Mad Dog 2020 but has a lower quality than a $10 bottle of wine unless the brewers grow the right strains of grapes on their plantation.

For the first step, we must calculate the alcohol content of the brew. We must also account for the juice’s sugar. As the yeast consumes the sugar, they produce carbon dioxide and ethanol as waste products. I calculated the theoretical ethanol yields from various table sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and corn sugar in Table 1.

Table 1. Sugar, Ethanol Concentration, and CO2

Sugar TypeSugar
(volume)
Sugar
(grams)
Purity
(% sugar)
Ethanol
(1 gallon)
Carbon dioxide
(liters-STP)
Carbon dioxide
(gallons-STP)
Granulated sugar1 cup201100.03.652.613.9
Granulated sugar2 cups402100.07.2105.227.8
Packed brown sugar1 cup22096.83.8 55.814.7
Packed brown sugar2 cups44096.87.7111.529.5
Honey1 cup33982.05.072.819.2
Honey2 cups68082.010.1146.038.6
Molasses1 cup33774.84.566.017.4
Molasses2 cups67474.89.1131.934.9
Maple syrup1 cup31567.93.956.014.8
Maple syrup2 cups63067.97.7112.029.6
Corn sugar (Dextrose)1 cup120100.02.129.87.9
Corn sugar (Dextrose)2 cups240100.04.159.715.8

I calculated the ethanol yield based on a measuring cup because everyone has access to measuring cups in his or her kitchen, but I also provide the sugar measure in grams. If a person has an accurate scale, then always weigh the sugar. Measuring cup is a volume measure, whereas chemical reactions are based on weight measures.

Measuring cups give an approximate measure while weight gives an exact measure. For example, brown sugar clumps and contains air pockets. Depending on how the brewer packs the cup, he or she will have variations in the sugar measure and indirectly the ethanol content.

Examining Table 1, the purity column indicates how much sugar the substance contains. For example, table sugar and corn sugar are 100%, pure sugar, while honey comprises 82% of sugar. I adjusted the ethanol yield to account for sugar purity.

The ethanol column in Table 1 indicates the approximate ethanol content for a one-gallon brew. However, a home brewer can scale these measures. For example, a brewer plans to make a three-gallon batch and adds one cup of table sugar to the brew. That one cup of sugar would contribute roughly 1.2% ethanol by volume, or 3.6 ÷ 3. If he or she adds three cups of molasses to a gallon of brew, then the ethanol yield should be 13.5%, or 4.5 × 3. However, the yeast may die before reaching this alcohol content level.

Subsequently, brewers add sugar to reach the desired alcohol content, but are careful about exceeding 10% alcohol content. For most yeast, as the alcohol content approaches 12% by volume, the ethanol kills the yeasts. Some brewers have yeast that can produce up to 18% ethanol by volume.

If brewers add too much sugar that the yeast does not consume, then they get a sweet brew. If home brewers want a sweet brew, they should add enough sugar to achieve the alcohol content. After the yeast finish fermenting, brewers would add a liquid sugar to suit their taste and refrigerate the brew. Yeast is living organism, but cool temperatures slow them down. They will continue consuming the sugar until the temperature becomes too cold or the ethanol kills them off.

I am big on sterilization. I mix in my natural spring water, the fruit juice, and sugar in a large pot. Then I bring it to a small boil, killing off the microorganisms. Then I let the mixture cool until 100 degrees Fahrenheit and add it to the fermenting container. Then I pour the activated yeast into the container. Some brewers do not heat and boil their brews because it can change the flavor. However, the boiling kills the microorganisms and reduces contamination during the fermentation stage.

Fermentation takes between two and three weeks. Brewers must protect their brew from microorganisms. If bacteria contaminate the brew, they end up with vinegar. Some brewers purchase air locks that allow the carbon dioxide to escape but stops outside air from entering the fermentation container. A brewer does not need that. Did you notice my two-gallon jug has a large green, screw on lid? First, I screw the lid on tight. Then I loosen the lid until pressing on the container’s side, I can hear air being squeezed between the lid’s and container’s threads. If a person tightens the lid so carbon dioxide cannot escape, the pressure will build until the container ruptures and explodes, creating a mess. I show a beer just starting to ferment below.




Referring to Table 1, some brewers also grow plants, so I added the theoretical carbon dioxide yield. Brewers could place their fermenting brew near their plants, and the carbon dioxide would help the plants grow faster. These calculations are based on standard pressure and temperature, which equal 0 degree C and one atmospheric pressure. These numbers seem high, and I showed my calculations at the end of this blog. Thus, two cups of granulated sugar would create about 27.8 gallons of carbon dioxide.

Brewing Beer

Beer’s main ingredient is barley, and brewing beer requires more skill. Furthermore, barley contains little sugar and comprises about 50% of starch. Yeast cannot break down the starch because starch consists of long chains of sugar. Chemists use a hydrolysis reaction to break starch down into simple sugars that yeast can ferment. Chemists use two methods to break down starch – an acid or enzyme. Consequently, one gram of starch yields 1.11 grams of sugar.

I would not recommend using the acid. Chemists can add diluted sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid to the barley while heating the mixture in water. Then the acid breaks down the starch into sugar. However, sulfuric acid adds sulfur compounds to the beer, which can give it a bitter taste. (That is why commercial wine has a little bitterness from the sulfur compounds). Subsequently, hydrochloric acid adds chlorine compounds to the beer, which would not taste good either.

Brewers use the natural enzymes in barley to break down the starch. First, the brewers malt the barley by soaking barley in water. As the seeds germinate and sprout, the brewers remove the water and dry the seeds. Second, they pass the dried seeds through a roller to crack them. Finally, they add the seeds to water again and gradually heat them. Beer makers can add corn, sorghum, rye, or wheat depending on the use. At set intervals, the brewers halt the heating at 113, 144, and 163° F. The heating helps the seeds release the enzymes that break down the starch into maltose - a simple sugar. Once the liquid thickens and cools, we call it a wort that contains about 11% sugar.

Brewing process is more involved. Experienced brew masters add hops to the malt at set times. Hops add a bitterness and aroma to the beer. Beginners should buy a can of malt extract that makes two gallons of beer. After their skills improve, they could make beer from scratch. As we can see, brewing beer is an art. Every country I visited, the beer tastes differently even though beer companies make beer from four traditional ingredients - water, barley, hops, and yeast.

Brewers using a can of wort make beer similarly to wine. I show a picture below. They heat two gallons of natural spring water and add the can of wort. Then gradually bring the mixture to a boil. Brewers can add table sugar or corn sugar to raise the ethanol level. Brew masters claim table sugar departs a grainy ethanol taste to the beer, so they recommend corn sugar.


Some brewers add other ingredients to make designer beers, but it depends on the brewer. German lawmakers adopted the German Beer Purity Law (or Reinheitsgebot in German) in 1487, where breweries only could make beer from water, barley, and hops. During this time, people were not aware of yeast and microorganisms. Some people retain this tradition and refuse to drink beer with other ingredients. I am open-minded and do not mind adding extra ingredients to beer. Brewers can add pureed fruits or pie filling to the boiling wort to add fruity flavors to their beer. As the yeast consumes the sugars, the residues of the fruit will settle to the bottom of the container along with the dead yeast.

Here comes the dangerous part. Home beer makers gently pour their beer into plastic bottles. I strongly recommend buying plastic beer bottles from an online beer company. Then they add a half teaspoon of sugar to the beer and tightly screw on the lid. Afterwards, they store the beer in a tub or cooler for a week. As the yeast ferments the sugar, it creates carbon dioxide and builds up pressure in the bottle. We need this pressure to carbonate the beer naturally. The bottle can rupture and explode if the brewer adds too much sugar. Then refrigerate the beer, and the cooler temperature will help the beer absorb the carbon dioxide.

Something Goes Wrong

Sometimes a home brew does not taste good. One time, I brewed a batch of beer with a sour taste, but I let the beer sit in the refrigerator for months letting it age. After several months, the taste mellowed and transformed into a decent tasting beer. If a brewer creates a foul tasting beer and the taste has not improved after six months in the refrigerator, then he or she may want to toss the brew out because something went awry.

What happens if a beer tastes like vinegar? Unfortunately, bacteria contaminated the beer. Bacteria eat the sugars and convert them into acetic acid (vinegar) and carbon dioxide. Either the brewer did not sanitize the container properly, or something had killed the yeast. If brewers wash, sterilize their equipment, and boil their wort, then they would rarely contaminate their brews. In my case, I only experienced this one time. I added coffee to my beer to make Buzz Beer (Remember the Drew Carey Show). Nevertheless, the coffee had killed the yeasts, allowing the bacteria to thrive. Thus, I became stuck with two gallons of vinegar.

Appendix - The Calculations

I calculated the ethanol yield for sucrose or table sugar using the chemical equation below. One molecule of sucrose yields four molecules of ethanol. Chemical reaction includes the molecules weights in grams. The ratio between ethanol and sucrose yields 0.538. Thus, one gram of sucrose yields 0.538 grams of ethanol.


I included a volume measure, where one cup of sugar weighs 201 grams. Then I multiplied the purity of the sugar times one cup in grams and times 0.538 to calculate the ethanol in grams.

We want the ethanol as a volume measure. We know the density of ethanol equals 789 grams per milliliter. We divide the ethanol in grams by 789 to yield liters. Then I converted liters into gallons. Since I am making a one-gallon batch, then I multiplied by one hundred to calculate the percent ethanol content, which becomes an approximate measure.

Volume measure introduces two problems:
  • Density changes with temperature.
  • Alcohol and water have an affinity for each other. If I add 0.5 liters of pure ethanol to 0.5 liters of pure water, I do not get one liter. The ethanol and water molecules move closer together yielding 0.97 liters.
Dextrose or corn sugar has a different chemical composition than sucrose. Although we calculate the ethanol yield in the same manner, I used a different ratio between ethanol and dextrose, which equals 0.551. Consequently, one gram of dextrose produces 0.551 grams of ethanol.


Calculating the CO2 differs from ethanol yield because CO2 leaves the liquid as a gas. The ratio between carbon dioxide and sucrose equals 0.514 in the chemical formula. Subsequently, I multiply the amount of sugar in the mixture by the purity and times it by 0.514 to yield the carbon dioxide in grams. Hence, one gram of sucrose creates 0.514 grams of carbon dioxide.

I know one mole of gas occupies 22.4 liters while one mole of carbon dioxide weighs 44 grams. I multiply the carbon dioxide in grams by the ratio 22.4 ÷ 44 to yield liters. Then I converted liters into gallons.

We calculate the ethanol yield from dextrose similarly except the ratio between carbon dioxide and dextrose equals 0.489.

Finally, a starch molecule consists of a long molecule similar to sugar, which I show below. N refers to a large number where C6H10O5 forms a block in a long chain. Hydrolysis reaction breaks down the starch into a glucose molecule - a simple sugar. Consequently, one gram of starch yields 1.11 grams of sugar by taking the ratio between C6H12O6 and C6H10O5.



Monday, 2 December 2013

10 Tricks To Improve Your Writing

I always struggled with writing. After reading book after book, I tried to write better and improve my writing. I explain ten tricks in this blog that authors use to improve their writing. Writers use the first trick to reduce the word count of their written material from 5% to 10%. As writers remove words from their composition, they focus their thoughts and ideas. However, this rule depends on the writer. I struggle to place words on paper, so reducing the word count by 5% works well for me. A writer such as Stephen King who writes volumes upon volumes of words could reduce his writing easily by 20% or more without losing ideas.


Authors apply the second rule to improve their writings - they write for humanity. People are the center of the action. They receive or act in every sentence. For example, I heard a reference that professors write textbooks using a dead language. Read the example below:


The Law of Demand states a greater market price causes quantity demanded to fall, and vice versa while the Law of Supply states a greater market price causes quantity supplied to rise, and vice versa.


I wrote the sentence using correct grammar, but I used abstract subjects. Who represents demand, and who represents supply? Consumers reflect the demand function while producers, manufacturers, and suppliers influence the supply. Consequently, I rewrote the paragraph to reflect the participants who cause the action.


Law of Demand states consumers reduce their quantity demanded as the market price rises, and vice versa. Law of Supply states producers boost their quantity supplied as the market price rises, and vice versa.


Now we explicitly identified which parties do the action without referring to abstract nouns. Readers would find my economics book still boring, but the book would be more readable and bearable.


Writers employ a third trick by remembering the most important pieces of the sentences: Nouns and verbs. A noun refers to a person, place, and thing while a verb expresses a noun's actions. Words such as adjectives, gerunds, and participles modify or add additional details about the noun while the adverb provides extra information about the verbs. Nouns and verbs become the most important brick's in constructing the sentence. Then add adjectives and adverbs sparingly because they detract the readers' attention from the nouns and verbs. Read the example below:


The unfamiliar man asked in a low voice, "Where is the nearest bank?"


Many writers clamor for many words as possible with no regards for quality. I rewrote the sentence as:


The stranger whispered, "Where is the nearest bank?"


Many writers believe a sentence must be full of words to make it intelligent. That is not true. Great writers vary their sentence length. They write some sentences with as little as three words while they write other sentences stretching into 20 words or more. Great writers vary their sentence length to maintain a reader's interest. Imagine you must read a 5,000-word essay, and every sentence strings together 25 words. No matter the essay's topic, readers would become bored reading it.


Ted Cheney's Rule becomes the fourth trick to improve writing. An author only allows one form of the 'to be' verb for every 100 words. I listed the 'to be' verbs below:


     am      is      are      will be      were      was

If your essay has 5,100 words, then remove as many 'to verbs,' so every composition does not contain more than 51 instances of a 'to be' verb. Consequently, your composition would have 51 or fewer 'is' verbs, 51 or less 'are' verbs, et cetera. Writing present tense, I usually litter my composition with 'is' verbs. As I write past tense, I overuse the 'was' verbs. As you eliminate 'to be' verbs, you replace them with action verbs. For example, I wrote the paragraph for my short story – Paying for College.


"I am still sitting in the bushes, waiting. I could not see the other occupant, but this is good news. Chad is the son of Mike, who runs the garage. Mike is permanently on vacation and rarely steps foot in his own business."


Sentence has 43 words with three "is" verbs. I should have 0.43 to be verbs, or close to zero. I rewrote the paragraph to remove the two "is" verbs. Did you notice how I added the verb 'to smile' to strengthen my action?


"I am still sitting in the bushes, waiting. I could not see the other occupant, but I smile at the good news. Chad is the son of Mike, who runs the garage. Mike went on a permanently vacation and rarely steps foot in his own business."


I could eliminate the "am" verb by stating "I sit in the bushes…" but this changes the sentences. I am using a progressive present tense to indicate I am sitting in the bushes for a while.


Writers use a fifth trick to improve their writing. They write using active voice versus passive voice. Active voice indicates the subject does the action, whereas passive voice switches the recipient of the action to the subject. Writers often drop the subject of the sentence, the person doing the action. Therefore, passive voice can create abstract sentences where the reader may not know who does the action. After teaching in the United States and several foreign countries, my foreign students usually write in active voice while my native English speakers write many of their sentences in the passive voice. Passive voice requires a greater depth of knowledge of the English language. For example, this sentence came from one of my research papers.


"Soybean meal is exported or used in animal feeds while the soybean oil is sold in existing markets or converted to biodiesel."


Who exports soybean meal? Extraction mills export the meal. Thus, I inserted extraction mills into the sentence because they perform the action.


"Extraction mills export soybean meal or blend it in animal feeds while they sell the soybean oil in existing markets or convert the oil to biodiesel."


In the process, I sharpened my explanation. I used the verb blend in place of used. Again, using the Ted Cheney Rule to eliminate the 'to be' verbs helps reduce passive voice because writers often create passive voice using the verbs - is, are, was, and were. Nevertheless, writers can create passive voice using other verbs but the 'to be' verbs remain the usual culprits.


Passive voice has its place. Writing a sentence with passive voice mixed in here and there with active voice helps writers vary their compositions. A writer should reduce passive voice but not completely eradicate it. A writer still needs passive voice for the following.


  1. Researchers write scientific papers heavily using passive voice because they believe passive voice removes human judge and biases from the paper. However, some researchers debate this issue. Some researchers write in active voice.
  2. As a writer switches passive voice into active voice, they usually shorten their sentences, especially if the writer includes the recipient of the action in the sentence. Then the writer transfers the recipient to the subject. However, a writer can lengthen a sentence by switching a sentence to active voice. For example, it is forbidden to litter in the park. Sentence is short and to the point. If a writer switched this to active voice, he or she would greatly lengthen the sentence. If the police catch you littering in the park, they will fine and/or incarcerate you.
  3. Passive voice softens the language and expresses ideas politely. From the last example, it is forbidden to litter in the park. Action focuses on the violator. However, switching the action to the police as the enforcers make them sound threatening as if the police are lurking behind the trees waiting for the violators.
  4. As writers compose dialogue, and his or her characters use passive voice, then authors must use passive voice in the composition. For readers to enjoy the writing, the dialogue must flow naturally, and people do speak using the passive voice.


Writers use the sixth rule to strengthen their writing. They eliminate dithering because these words create uncertainty and weaken characters' actions. Dithering words include maybe, possibly, perhaps, and try. For instance, I wrote this sentence for my short story, Paying for College:


There is no way I would try to cash these.


Analyzing this sentence, the verb try 'makes' the character sound uncertain. Did you notice the 'is' verb? Many writing guides suggest writers remove all forms of 'there is.' After I rewrote my sentence, the sentence becomes:


No way would I cash these.


I strengthen the character's action by eliminating the verbs 'is' and 'try.' I hinted at the seventh rule to eliminate all forms of 'there + verb.' After thinking about it, does 'there + verb' add any meaning to the sentence? Examine the following sentence:


There was a tornado that destroyed the town in 1995.


I rewrote the sentence to eliminate 'there was.' Even Microsoft Word 2010 caught this error and suggested correctly to remove there and that. I added the verb 'had' to change the sentence to past perfect because this one event struck the town at one time.


A tornado had destroyed the town in 1995.


I listed the common other forms for the 'there + verb' construction. The Cheney Rule would help eliminate the first four. From the old school of writing, English teachers would call the writers lazy when they used the 'there + verb' construction. After writers become skilled in editing, they can eliminate this sentence construction easily.


There is
There are
There were
There was
There had been, etc.


Writers can use the eighth rule to reduce the word count in writing. This rule works well for novels and fictional stories. A writer can eliminate 'the' in most cases if it is the first word in a sentence. Read the paragraph from Paying for College:


The Buick's engine roars into life. The car has a severe case of rust-leprosy, and the exhaust was rattling badly as if the car is ready to fall apart. Then the car pulls onto the street and drives away.


I removed 'the' when it appears as the first word in a sentence. Did you miss it? This rule can help remove words from a composition, reducing the word count.


Buick's engine roars into life. Car has a severe case of rust-leprosy, and the exhaust was rattling badly as if the car is ready to fall apart. Then the car pulls onto the street and drives away.


Writers use the ninth trick to eliminate any words that add nothing to the sentence. I listed five adverbs that add none thing to a sentence. Mark Twain quoted about another useless adverb – very. He said, "Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."


Essentially
Basically
Ultimately
Inevitably
Apparently


Think about it. Do any of these adverbs add any ideas to the sentence or even add information to the verb. I threw these adverbs into the paragraph below.


Corporatism essentially comes in a variety of forms. In some cases, government ultimately dominates the relationship and regulates its industry. Inevitably, this management style is a top to bottom approach and apparently similar to the way communistic countries control their industries.


I removed essentially, ultimately, inevitably, and apparently from the sentence. Did these adverbs add any meaning to the sentences?


Corporatism comes in a variety of forms. In some cases, government dominates the relationship and regulates its industry. This management style is a top to bottom approach and is similar to the way communistic countries control their industries.


Abruptly becomes another abused adverb. Many writers insert abruptly into a sentence to accelerate the prose's action. This is not necessary. Short sentences and paragraphs containing action verbs speed up the action while lengthy paragraphs and long sentences slow down the pace. Read the following sentence. Does it need the adverb abruptly?


A criminal bursts into the room with his gun drawn. Bam! Bam! Bam!


Finally, some writers recommend eliminating the following words from their writings. These words contribute little meaning to a sentence.


Appears to
As though
It would appear
Like a
Looks as though
Looks like
Manner
Nature
Reason + verb + because
Seems to
Seemed like
Seemed as though
Type


Office software has given writers a vital tool to edit their written material. An author can use the search function in Word 2007 and higher to edit his or her writing. For example, I type in 'Space is Space' in the navigation bar and Word searches for every instance of 'is.' If I did not include the spaces, then Word would include 'this' or 'island' if they appeared in the text. That way, Word gives the writer an accurate count of 'is' for the Cheney Rule. Moreover, a writer can use Find next to locate the next word in the composition. If a writer uses contractions in his composition, then he or she must also search for 'isn't'


New writers are horrified to remove words from a composition after they had struggled to put the words onto paper in the first place. Putting words onto a paper starts the first step to writing. Writers must learn the art of editing to sharpen and focus their prose. Good editing requires the writer to remove the most words as possible without losing ideas and meanings. For example, would a reader appreciate reading a novel with 100,000 words or the same novel where the writer had reduced the word count to 60,000 without removing ideas?