Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You Already Said That . . .


I tend to overuse words. A lot. I have my favorites and they just happen. As writers we need to be wary of this. Some words you need to use a word ton. Like the and a. Others not so much. As I recently blogged about, I had serious issues with the word eyes in my latest work in progress. Three hundred and fifty uses of the word eyes in an 80,000 novel is a bit much.
You can google lists of overused words in fiction, but you should also pay attention to your own word usage. You may pick up a word and use it constantly that isn’t on one of the lists.
Usually, I start my own list of words to seek and destroy. Do this and create a new list often. I tend to have word trends or words of the month. A few months ago, the word was fool. In my novel, everyone was a fool and calling each other fools. Another time, it was almost fell. My characters were slipping and sliding and almost falling all over the place.
As you are editing your novel, pay attention to the words you use. If you are uncertain if a word is being used too often, use the find all function of your document. Seeing them all highlight can make a difference.
Happy writing!

10 comments:

  1. Good post. I'm sure I'm guilty of this - probably with me it's "she" because there's a lot of description of what the main character is doing. Have you tried Wordle? You can paste your entire novel into it and it'll show up the most common words biggest. You've reminded me I need to do it!

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  2. One way I can be more attuned to this problem is by reading my work out loud. Somehow my ears can pick up repeats that my eyes miss. Great advice, Jessica!

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  3. Oh GOD,I am just now realising how much I use over words some words and phrases. I'm SO tired of "eyes" and "just" and "I couldn't help but" - I'm going cross-eyed from them all!

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  4. Thanks for the tip! :) Happy Wednesday!

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  5. so true---except when it is a particular character that talks that way or has a limited vocabulary :)

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  6. A great post and good advice. Thanks.

    Riya

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  7. yup, easily done. said is my next chopper!

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