Whether you're writing a novel, a legal pleading, a news article, or whatever, it should be as clean as possible, using only the words needed to communicate the idea. This is certainly true in business and legal writing, but is equally true in writing fiction.
Here are two examples clunky writing that are easily fixed.
Example 1: “Reached out to...” or any of its variants. I suppose this tired and childish phrase has its uses, but is used constantly to mean “contacted,” or “asked.” If that’s what you mean, say it.
I found one particularly egregious example in a news article I recently read: “[He] again reached out to [so-and-so] asking....” Wouldn’t it be better to write, “[He] asked [so-and-so] again....”? It means the same thing, and is said in fewer extra words that are just clutter.
Example 2: “In order to...” Just write “to.” The same news article I mentioned above used this phrase too. “[They did something] in order to [cause something to happen].”
What does the “in order” part add? Simply write, “[They did something] to [cause something to happen].”
Here are other examples I made up for illustration.
“I reached out to little Jimmy, asking him to stop disrupting the class.”
Instead, write: “I asked little Jimmy to stop disrupting the class.” Isn’t that better? What did “reached out to” add?
“Let’s reach out to Selma to see whether she can come here tomorrow.”
Instead, write: “Let’s call/email/ask Selma whether she can come here tomorrow.”
“I want to wash my car in order to make it shine.”
Better is: “I want to wash my car to make it shine.”
“I’m saving my money in order to buy a house.”
Better: “I’m saving my money to buy a house.”
Tell me what you think.