Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday pic and I will write one hundred times: I will not over-use the following words…



Like, look, back and just.

These are words I use a lot. Like, too much. So one of the things I’m doing as part of my editing process is addressing the over-use of those four words. Not that there aren’t more words I use too much. ‘Think’ and ‘gave’ are also on the list. But for now I’m just dealing with the four mentioned. This means using the find feature and then deciding if I’m going to replace and if so, with what. No easy task, as I’m sure you’ve guessed.

As of this writing I have completed my search for ‘back’ and ‘like.’ I am now combing through a third time for ‘look’ ( I dread to see how over-used this word is). Meanwhile I’ll bet you’re thinking, holy shit, that sounds like torture.

It IS torture. And I’m really hoping that this becomes such an unpleasant memory that I NEVER DO IT AGAIN!

How about you? What are your bad habits?

Rockland, Maine

64 comments:

  1. I LOVE your sunflower pic!! How summery and one of my fave flowers ever!

    Awwwww you mustn't torture yourself!! LOL!! Well - let's hope this is the last time you do so! Yay! Take care
    x

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    1. I'm hoping it's the last time, too, but we'll see...

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  2. I have a list of those overused words, too, and spent a very looooooooong day combing my manuscript for them. And I honestly can't remember which words are on that list...which is probably why I overuse them and have to spend oodles of time looking for them and deleting them.

    I love Rockland. It's beautiful there.

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    1. It's a cool town and the walk out to the lighthouse was gorgeous.

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  3. I have to do the same thing. Just is one of my overused words. Felt was one I used a lot in my second book, but it only shows up a dozen times in the third. I learned!

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  4. I use those words too much too. Janice Hardy posted a 1 and 1/2 page of overused words that I check for in my manuscripts. Getting rid of them helped me cut my word count too.

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    1. Oh yeah, I've cut all kinds of words - like 6,000!!!

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  5. I am in the editing process right now and those words are ones I use a lot as well.

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    1. I feel for you, Clarissa...

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  6. I love the sunflower pic too!

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  7. First of all, that is a wallop of summer beauty and color. Beautiful pic.

    And, yes, I have been a "just" abuser in the past. I finally nailed my addiction to that word, at least in my manuscripts. I still overuse it in everything else I write though. "Look" and "turn" are the two words I'm currently having to weed out of my writing on a regular basis.

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    1. Look is hard. And the pic is from the Boothbay Botanical Gardens which isn't too far away (25minutes).

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  8. Errrrrrgh, the word 'just' slips into EVERYTHING I write, from stories to emails. Must get rid of it!

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  9. Holy cow. Blech. Some stinking good advice though.

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  10. Yeah, JUST is a big problem and most instances of BACK don't need to be there. But I always have problem with LOOK. I mean, my characters have to LOOK at each other, right? And they have to LOOK at important things, and how do you not LOOK at a monster when you're fighting it? (While it LOOKS at them!) Grrr.

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    1. Totally agree. Look is the hardest one to find a replacement for. I mean, how many times can you substitute glance or stare or peer... (actually, I have a nice list of replacement words but they still don't always work!)

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  11. It'd to know that some bad habits are universal!! I just wrote a post about a couple of weeks ago: http://bit.ly/15wPaEC. I reeeally like the words 'long' and 'slow', and I'm rapidly compiling a list of other overused words. Like words ending in 'ly'. Sigh.

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    1. Whoops, that was supposed to say 'it's good to know'. Also good to know that I should always, always re-read what I write... ;)

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    2. Oh, yes, lots of re-reading involved in writing - assuming you want the end result to be something people will enjoy :)

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  12. Oh blah. They are words in the English language. Use them. I do all the time. People are not going to trash you on your writing. Writers are going to trash you on your writing. Ordinary people looking for a story are doing just that: they want a good story. They don't care how many times you reuse words. GRRM said "He was not wrong" about a gazillion times in "A Dance With Dragons" and no one cares.

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    1. Yeah, but I'm not GRRM - yet!
      :)

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  13. I have just been considering this same issue, I think that "like, well,and think" are three of my over useds..something else to ponder. Very easy habbit to acquire, not so easy to tackle.

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    1. Like I said, I'm hoping the torture of correcting will help me not do it again!

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  14. I never saw over use of a word as a bad thing but you;re the expert, I consider picking my nose and shouting at people online gaming as bad habits!

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    1. Picking your nose is definitely a bad habit, but imo, you can say whatever you want when in the throes of gaming - I do!

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  15. My bad habit is writing!

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  16. That are classic over-used words - I think we all catch ourselves on them sometimes. Same goes for "had," "was" and "that." Good luck slashing them out. ;)

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  17. Beautiful photo and I love your header.

    Back has been on my list lately. I don't know why I didn't notice it before. I'm still a recovering thataholic.

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    1. 'a recovering thataholic' - lol, that's a good one!

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  18. At the moment, I'm trying to allow myself to write the word that comes to me. I'm on a first draft, and my bad habit right now is continuing to read what I'm producing as if it's polished. And the more I do that, the harder this draft is.

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    1. That can make sense - especially if it's taking forever to find the right word. I used to ponder too long and now it seems I ponder too little...now where is that happy medium?

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  19. I love your new picture!

    I have to do the same thing, use the find option and replace my overused, unnecessary words. :) I'm getting better about just not using them at all now. :)

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    1. I'm hoping next time I write something new that I remember how unpleasant this task was.

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  20. I'm doing the overused word search now, too. Really and very are a couple of mine.

    Love the picture.

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    1. Thank you! I love black-eyed-susans :)

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  21. Just is my worst one. I cringe when I do a search and realize how often I've used it! I'm also terribly guilty of using "as" phrases too often.
    This reminds me that I need to do another overused word search on my ms, I skipped that during my final edits. Thanks for a much needed reminder!

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    1. I'm working on removing 'just' now. So far there's quite a few I can just hit delete.

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  22. ha! i know!

    my big bad nono's are
    just, so, down, was!

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    1. I think 'just' must be on everyone's list!

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  23. Just, very, and really are my bugaboos.

    My bad habit? I, um, love too much. (Are the judges looking?) Actually, my bad habit is more an omission. I don't exercise enough. Used to. Used to be unbelievably thin, too. Not anymore. (Think there might be a correlation?)

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    1. I used to be a better exerciser too. *sigh*

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  24. I overuse LIKE and JUST also! As well as STILL and ONLY and BUT. I'm more conscious now when I use them at least...you're right, it IS torture trying to find words to replace the overused words with, and make sure the usages aren't too close together, etc. Ugh!

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    1. Agreed! Let's hope this lesson sinks in so I don't have to to learn it again, lol.

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  25. Yikes. I overuse these words too. "And then" is another one of my crutch phrases. And "looked," "seemed," "started to." I have to go back and ruthlessly weed these out of every manuscript.

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    1. I've got a few of those, too!

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  26. Love your pic and your yellow flower header. The colors are great. I rarely use the word 'just' thanks to my editor who harped on me about it a while back. Now I only use it in dialogue. But there are a ton of other words I overuse, like 'look' or 'smile' or 'as'... the word 'suddenly' is one I've recently gotten in my crosshairs. I tend to use that one often too.

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    1. Thanks, Elise, and congrats to you for eliminating 'just!' I'm working on it :)

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  27. Too many bad habits to mention, BUT 'just' a minute there, I way over use that one.

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  28. I'm afraid mine is kinda out of the norm- it appears I used "come-hither" at least one other time in a short period of time and who knows how many other times so that's something I better check on. Thanks for getting me to look! Cheers!

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  29. become/became. I've got to watch 'em close since they'll sneak into my writing every chance they get.

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    1. It's amazing how much manages to sneak in. Must be more vigilant.

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  30. I had a crit partner read my memoir. She mentioned the overuse of "that" and "had". I have already eliminated 63 thats and am only 1/5 of the way through the book. Yikes! I know "just" is one of those words for me, too.

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    1. Yeah, I had a cp mention the word 'which' and it no longer comes up as over-used - course I still have all the rest, lol.

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  31. I'm sorry it's torture. But happy to read about your process. Pretty cool.

    PS: LOVE THE NEW BANNER.

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