Friday, March 20, 2009

The Words We Love to Use

Every writer has one. The word you seem to slip into every sentence that it could possibly work. A lot of people use the same words, all common in writing; that, was, like, just. I’m sure the list goes on and on.

This week, I have been going through the critiques that my crit group combed through on Lost and Found, my current work-in-progress. Several chapters in, I noticed I have the normal overused words, the ones I listed above. Nothing too unusual about that since Lost and Found is only in the first draft. Then, eight chapters in, one of my crit partners noticed I use toward a lot. I don’t mean everyone once in awhile, but it seemed like almost every page, I had at least one pesky toward lurking. Color me surprised. I had never noticed my love for the word toward but since she pointed it out, I decided to go through a few chapters. It seems almost every time my characters were moving to a destination, or stealing a glance, any possible place I would add toward, I did. Wanting to delete as many as possible, I went in search of my thesaurus. Surprisingly, there weren’t as many replacements as one would think. I replaced a few that would work for the sentence or scene, and then rewrote a handful of other sentences to eliminate the word that haunts my manuscript.

I was curious to really see how many times toward was in my 269 page, 1st draft. After deleting a few, I did a find in Word and counted. I was AMAZED. 137 times, toward appeared in the 269 pages. That’s an average of once every two pages! Looks like I have a lot of work to do on the second draft!

What’s your favorite word to sneak in all the time?

5 comments:

seriouslyread said...

Seriously shows up quite a bit in my creative writing. (not to mention how often it shows up in conversation)
I think every paper I wrote in college had the phrase "in essence".

Iryna said...

Whenever I'm talking about how great something is, I almost always use the word "phenomenal".

Tami Klockau said...

LOL, seriouslyread, I love the college paper thing. I always used phrases like "in essence" to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about. Seriously is a good one.

OO, phenomenal! That's a good one too, Iryna. It's so weird how our brain comes up with the same words every time.

Tracy Belsher said...

Crap - I have one of these words too. "So" - especially in dialogue.
So, like, whatcha gonna do about it?

;)

Kitty Keswick said...

Mine is "So" and also "Okay", and "Like"

Thank my lucky stars for the "find and replace" tool in Word.

I tend to use okay a lot in my "non-writing, writing like emails, and stuff...
I'm such a valley girl...