Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Realizing You Have a Problem is Half the Battle

I know there are certain words I overuse when I am writing a rough draft. That's kind of the point of the rough draft, you have to turn off that internal editor as much as possible and just plow through.

I know I use "suddenly" way too much. Apparently things never happen at a slow pace in my novel. Another one is "seemed" (and seemingly and seems), maybe part of that is that I am writing scenes with magic so I default back to my own unbelief and say something "seemed to happen" instead of actually happening.

I had no idea that there was another word that I overuse. A lot.

Realized. Who knew? It appears to be one of my favorite words and I didn't even realize it (ahem). This was pointed out to me by one of my beta readers, Victoria. Her awareness of it was likely enhanced by the fact that because she's in Australia, her spell check underlined each and every instance of it in annoying, squiggly red. I'm glad it did or I would never have known!

After a few hours of editing . . . the occurrence is much lower. Yay for the awesome "find" feature in Pages, I really do get more out of it than the one in Word.

Are there any words you overuse? Do you own a thesaurus? My Mom swears by good dictionaries with an included thesaurus. Luckily for me, there are some online, it makes editing so much easier!


  1. I've never thought of over using words! Will have to go check, I think I probably make up a lot of words!

    If I used a thesaurus I'd most likely end up sounding like Joey from Friends!

  2. Amanda - the trick is to replace with words you would normally use as well ;) There are probably about 10 viable replacements for "realized" but because I get stuck in a rut it's hard for me to think of them without looking it up.

  3. My characters all raise their eyebrows. To express surprise, displeasure, whatever--they raise their eyebrows. I actually wrote "Make sure not all actions are raised eyebrows" at the top of my rough draft.

  4. This is so funny! I bet we all do that without reali- um, KNOWING it!


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