Monday, November 7, 2011

Over-used words

I have just pressed send on Hollywood Heartbreak to my editor at Carina Press. Am really, really hoping it will be my second book with them. Have two more ideas for books to make a Hollywood series and have given them to my editor too. So now I guess the wait begins.

While editing, I got to thinking about words I use a lot that either could be replaced with stronger words or could be deleted altogether. Today in a final edit, I searched my manuscript for the following words:

  • very
  • absolute
  • thought
  • felt
  • just (HUGE culprit for me)
  • knew
  • seemed (another surprising biggie)
  • suddenly
  • looked
  • was
While I didn't change ALL of these instances - often in dialogue they worked - I did change a lot and delete a fair few as well. I'm putting together a list of words to look out for in a final list. Do you have any words that you over-use and look out for in the final edit?

12 comments:

Jackie Ashenden said...

Love this post! And I'll add:

particularly (no idea why)
dark
gaze
abruptly
something
actually

As you can see, I have an ongoing love affair with the adverb. :-)

scarlet wilson said...

Had a huge shudder down my spine when I saw this post as you are the person that finds all my over-used words! The worst part of this is - I never see them until you highlight them for me. Then I scream!
My biggest hurdle HAD. It chases me around the room!

Leah Ashton said...

Hahahaha :) Mine is gaze, like Jackie. And having "And" at the start of a sentence (okay, I didn't even do that deliberately :) ).

This has inspired me to put my latest MS into wordle - have you tried that before? http://www.wordle.net/ - very cool!

Rachael Johns said...

Ooh thanks for adding more to the list Jackie. I'm almost scared to check my ms for them, since I've just subbed it.

LOL Scarlet! I didn't even realise I did this :)

Leah - I looked for Wordle earlier but it confused me. I've now subbed, so probably shouldn't check, but I'm going to. Will report back in a moment. Eek!

Rachael Johns said...

MAN - I just did it. VERY cool!! Now I want to print it off an stick it on my wall. Thing and wanted showed up lots!

Leah Ashton said...

I just did it too, biggest words (other than their names!):

Just
one (?)
like
even
back
time (?)

And gaze was only tiny! I'm shocked!

Lacey Devlin said...

Wordle! I was trying to remember what it was called. You can't google it if you don't know the darn name!

I love "just" too :) Apparently I'm trying out for the Olympic overuse of it.

Serena Bell said...

Oh, this made me remember a few more troublesome words--hot, heat, warm, warmth. Also, for me, little, small, slight.

Helene Young said...

Love it! Fabulous post. It is the writer's curse of course...

'That' crops up a lot in my work. And I have a nasty habit of 'flicking hair' and 'raising eyebrows'... Very glad Word has a find function that allows me to weed them out!

Wordle? Will have to try that :)

Rebecca Bradley said...

Just, that and yet were my three that needed killing off. I may have to check your list for any other culprits though :)

Rachael Johns said...

Just seems to be a popular one Lacey. I reckon Wordle would make GORGEOUS wall art!

Serena - you got a temperature thing happening there?! :)

Ooh Helene, I hear ya on those eyebrows. Shudder to think how many were raised in my last wip!

Oh dear Rebecca - I didn't check for 'yet' but I fear that's one of my culprits too :(

Veronica Scott said...

"That". For some totally unknown reason that is my all time biggest offender word! Had a few that get repetitious during my more romantic moments too but my Editor has kindly brought those to my attention! Great post, good luck with the submission!