Friday, July 26, 2013

Lazy words

On Monday I was telling you about my over-used words - like, look, just, and back. Maybe you use the same words too much or maybe you have different words but either way, I've realized that the reason they get used a lot is because I'm lazy.  The reason I know this is that during my search for those lazy words I discovered that I could often come up with a better, more accurate word if I thought about it for a minute. 

For example when I used the word 'like' did I mean enjoy or similar to? Could some of those looks turn into gapes or stares or examinations? The answer was often yes.

Which sadly confirms my realization; I'm being lazy by using those words and, more importantly, I'm forgetting one of the very important lessons:

Use definite, concrete, specific language.

It takes a little longer, but I have a feeling that what I'm doing now, this search and replace, is far more time consuming. What are your lazy words? Have you conquered any? I can see this as an ongoing issue until it becomes habit to find the proper word.

Thoughts? Opinions? 

31 comments:

  1. Revisions for repeated words can be so annoying. I often insert a better replacement word only to find I'd already used it several times in the chapter. Argh! Some of my "lazy" words are gaze, jog, and dart. We all have them. :P

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    1. Your lazy words are much more interesting than mine!

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  2. Look is on my list, as is Then. I always do the search and replace thing at the end of my edits. A lot of my "thens" I just delete outright. It's tedious, but important.

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    1. I found I could delete most of my 'justs.' Look was harder.

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  3. Lazy makes sense. (And I'm ambitiously lazy.) Usually it's not just a better word that works but rewording the entire sentence.

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    1. "And I'm ambitiously lazy." LOL!

      And you're right about reworking the whole sentence.

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  4. Like and look are my words. Oh and pummel. I love that word.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. That's funny you like pummel :)

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  5. I'm guessing reading lots of quality writers (not any writers) could help people enrich their vocabulary and make them use more various words.

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  6. I have a terrible habit of saying someone "took a deep breath" way too often. It's totally lazy on my part and I'm just looking for an easy beat between lines of dialogue. You are right that the search and replace takes far longer than doing it right in the first place, I hope I am finally starting to learn my lesson!

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    1. yeah, sometimes my characters sigh too much and suck their breath in a lot.

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  7. It's easy to slip into and can sometimes be done for affect.

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  8. I might have meant effect

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  9. I do hate wimpy verbs. If I'm writing in a hurry I'll leave in my "turns" and "looks" and catch them later on revision. But if I'm writing in the "zone", I'll take the time to be more specific about what I'm trying to say and give the writing a little more oomph.

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    1. When I used to write by hand I would often mark words I wanted to replace with BW in a circle, to remind me to find a better word. It's harder to do this when typing.

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  10. Can so relate. Not sure why, but sometimes it's easier to catch these words when revising rather than drafting.

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    1. You may be right - especially if you're in the zone where you don't want to stop.

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  11. I use "feck off" a lot, where I could use longer sentences like "I've listened to your argument and while I respect your opinion I feel you're extracting the urine and should go away now"!

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    1. In this case I think "feck off" suffices nicely ;)

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  12. I try to catch them early, but it's best to leave them to the end. I delete a lot of 'that'. :)

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    1. I used to have more 'thats' so I guess I've gotten better with some words.

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  13. Sigh.

    I mean, whenever I'm not sure what the character should be doing, she sighs.

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    1. Yup, I've got too much sighing at times too.

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  14. HI, Marcy,

    We are all guilty of this. I see these words overly used many times in crit and beta reading. I always do searches to make sure I don't overuse my words...

    Mostly JUST was my key word, but I've learned to avoid it.

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    1. Yes, I've been know to overuse just as well *sigh*

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  15. This isn't really the same thing but back when I did market research. We were all in a speaker phone meeting with the client. Talking about how they wanted the surveys and research done, blagh, blagh, blagh.

    Anyway, the meeting was so bloody boring that I found myself counting the amount of times the client used the word, um.

    277 times. In one meeting.

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  16. That happens to me as well.
    "sort of" , "kinda" and others .
    i guess its does take a little longer but worth it :)

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    1. It is definitely time consuming finding other words, less common words to use but worth it in the long run, I think.

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