Words I Can't Stop Using

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gonzo2802
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Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by gonzo2802 » May 6th, 2010, 5:57 pm

I'm sure we all have them. Those words that we know we use FAR too often in our writing. Most of the times we can pick 'em out during revisions, and sometimes we need them pointed out to us by others.

Just for fun, let's put together a list of words that we can't stop using in our free writing, even though we know we should. (Yeah, I'm talking to all you Suddenlys out there!)

Here are a couple of mine:

THAT - I know what a weak and useless word it is, and I edit it out 90% of the time ... but I'll be darned if it doesn't trickle into my sentences without my even knowing it. More often than not it's an invisible word to me. I like to think of that as my written "umm".

AMUSED - I must have the most fun-loving jolly bunch of characters in creation, because when I went through and did my first revision on my complete ms the folks living in my imaginary world were always amused with one another. Apparently amused is my emotional "umm"

What words do you wish came to you in smaller doses?

SarahEMC2
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by SarahEMC2 » May 6th, 2010, 6:35 pm

I love "Wordle" for this. I run all my chapters through it, because my overused words tend to change based on subject. (Make sure you UNCHECK "filter common words" or you'll miss some great suggestions for editing.)

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Holly
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Holly » May 6th, 2010, 7:18 pm

SarahEMC2 wrote:I love "Wordle" for this. I run all my chapters through it, because my overused words tend to change based on subject. (Make sure you UNCHECK "filter common words" or you'll miss some great suggestions for editing.)

I agree, Wordle is great -- and thanks for the suggestion to uncheck the filter for common words (I didn't know about that). My most overused words are AROUND and BACK.

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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » May 6th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Oh, mine are weakening words. Sometimes they're needed for a particular effect, but they always seem to become habits. Seemingly, seems to, sort of, slightly, a little, etc. ad nauseum. But luckily they help me decrease my word count in revision. :)
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Quill
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Quill » May 6th, 2010, 8:17 pm

Just and but. I know I've got to reduce their frequency, but they are difficult to replace!

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Matthew MacNish » May 6th, 2010, 8:20 pm

Ink wrote:Oh, mine are weakening words. Sometimes they're needed for a particular effect, but they always seem to become habits. Seemingly, seems to, sort of, slightly, a little, etc. ad nauseum. But luckily they help me decrease my word count in revision. :)
Hah! Great point Ink, way to think positive. You also make a good observation that if used ON PURPOSE even some of these weak words can be meaningful. But for me it usually comes down to laziness. I often like to qualify things with words like: sometimes, usually, often, mostly, seemed, also and so forth. Check this post for examples. These words are fluff almost all the time. Wordle is a great tool for this.

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Jaime
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Jaime » May 7th, 2010, 8:49 am

Slightly, and a little. Basically what Ink said! My word count is feeling much better without them :D

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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by BransfordGroupie » May 7th, 2010, 9:18 am

Writing in first person, I had the sinking feeling that my MC seemed to be trapped in her own little bubble. I kept thinking 'I need to extend her world, or something', but as I started editing, I found that all references to me, myself and I (and my, I'd, I've, I'll, and I'm) were really starting to bug me. So I did a search, and highlighted all those little nasties in red. OMG, it looked like blood had been spattered all over my nice clean pages. Not a pretty sight. So right now I am whittling them down, and I have to say, my MS is really starting to sound much better.
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Mel
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Mel » May 7th, 2010, 2:58 pm

Apparently, happens to be my favorite word. I'm not sure how many I've cut out. I also like couldn't, would, and smile. Everyone in my WIP is apparently, very happy, because they are always smiling.

Thanks for the WORDLE tip. That's a great idea.

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Quill
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Quill » May 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm

What is this "wordle" you speak of? Wordle.net? I couldn't see where there is that application there...

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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by brandi_fey » May 7th, 2010, 4:57 pm

Wordle is the tool. It just gives you a visual image of your book. The words you use more tend to be bigger.

I love me some wordle. I like printing them out sometimes and using them as temporary MS covers.

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aspiring_x
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by aspiring_x » May 8th, 2010, 5:21 pm

link to wordle
http://www.wordle.net/create

just, like, light, dark,eyes, smile, however, and that are weaknesses... oh yeah, and "you know" haunts the dialogue in my story

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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 10th, 2010, 9:20 am

I also use Wordle to figure out which words I overuse. I don't have many anymore, thank god, because I became so paranoid about using them, but I still seem to cling to: looked, like, and just way too much.

Also, I overuse "that" and "had" which Wordle does not help me find but my internal cringe meter does when I'm reading. I swear I could delete 5,000 "thats" and "hads" before I'm done editing.

I used to rely heavily on what "eyes" were doing. They were doing so much "looking" "around" "back" and "away" I'm surprised y characters weren't acutally seizuring during those important scenes. Now that I know my eyes are my expression crutch, I use them more sparingly the first time around.
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Mark
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by Mark » May 10th, 2010, 10:50 am

Wow, I really just didn't expect 'just' to show up so many times. I mean, I knew I had problems with it in the past, but I just thought I was over it. Just makes you stop and think though. Doesn't it, just?

Thanks for the wordle tip. I'd seen that link before but never bothered clicking through. I'm going to have to be more vigilant about certain words on my blog as well as my MS revisions.

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HillaryJ
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Re: Words I Can't Stop Using

Post by HillaryJ » May 10th, 2010, 8:30 pm

Apparently, I'm wretched with qualifiers: "slightly", "quite", "a little". Also, in first person "apparently", "wretched" and references to nausea and/or vomiting. In third person, the "apparently" and nausea, et al issues go away. Most mysterious.
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