Strengthen the tone of your writing: avoid “will”

A tip to gaming writers: try writing your sentences so they don’t rely on the word “will.”

Compare:

“The camp is so busy, the PCs will find it easy to move through it without harassment.”
to
“The camp is so busy, the PCs find it easy to move through it without harassment.”

or

“If a PC makes a DC 20 Spot check, they will notice a strange glyph on the wall.”
to
“If a PC makes a DC 20 Spot check, they notice a strange glyph on the wall.”

There’s no real reason to have the word “will” in either of the above examples. Using “will” actually adds an element of future-temporal vagueness to the sentences (“When will you find it easy? When do they notice the glyph?”), removing it puts the action in the here and now.

It’s especially common for this to crop up in game text, as game text tends to use many “if, then” statements where “will” likes to glom on like mold.

Do a search & replace for all instances of the word “will” (lower case, as you don’t want to mess up mentions of Will saves) with red, bold will will and try to rewrite those sentences so they don’t use the word “will.” And if for some reason you’re using contractions, don’t forget he’ll, she’ll, I’ll, we’ll, you’ll, and they’ll.

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7 thoughts on “Strengthen the tone of your writing: avoid “will”

    • I thought it was an issue of passive voice, but to avoid making a fool of myself by stating it as such I checked … turns out, it’s not passive voice, it has to do with the modality of the sentence, which has to do with possibility. As if-then statements already imply possibility, the use of “will” in one is redundant.

      Plus, it just sounds stronger if you drop it. ;)

  1. Thank you for the good advice, Sean. It will help. I will take it to heart and will read it over again before the next time I will plan on writing something. This will be the kind of thing that I will tell others about if they will ask me for my advice. You will continue to provide such useful tips that will aid other writers in the future.

    I tried to stop myself from posting this but I didn’t have the willpower.

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