Monday, January 16, 2012

CRAFT: Word Choices

*sigh*

I thought I'd be extra efficient with my ms revisions and use the "find" feature in MS Word ... just to make sure I wasn't using certain words too many times.

I think I used the word AGAIN 247 times. Hmm. So, then, I thought okay, I can change or delete some of those! I went through and changed some to "once more" and others to "another time" and so on.

Here's how crazy I am: I didn't sleep well that night because I worried I had altered the "voice" of the character by changing all those words. ACK! Next morning I did the search again, only I searched for "once more" and really read the paragraph to make sure the change fit or if I really preferred the word "again" there. I did the same for "another time" ... sheesh. Talk about spending a lot of time accomplishing nothing.

Have you used the find feature and been shocked with your word choices?

What word do you use AGAIN and AGAIN?

24 comments:

  1. No, I haven't! I'll definitely have to do this and see which words I overuse.

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  2. was and looked are 2 majorly overused words that could be upgraded. not all but if you do a find, you'll see what i mean

    but you're right, we need to b careful w/edits, not to change the voice!

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  3. It's challenging to get everything just so when coming down the final stretch. I think I use 'still' and 'except' way too much.

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  4. I try to avoid using the same word twice in one sentence and if possible avoid using the same word too many times in one paragraph. Of course, like so many of us, I forget every now and then and do it anyway. But then I'm not writing a book, just telling my story and if it sounds right and fits into what I'm trying to say then, what the heck.
    Don't stress, your publisher will point out anything that needs adjusting anyway, if your editor hasn't already.
    God bless, Geoff.

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  5. Yay! I'm so happy to discover that I'm not the only one who uses that "find" feature, fixes things, and then worries that I "over-fixed" it. What relief! I'm not crazed...just a writer.

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  6. Yes. Yes. Yes. And phrases, too! My brain does this endless loop thing and keeps churning out the same things again and again. What did Jane Austen or Charles Dickens do, for heaven sakes? They didn't have the Find feature to track down those redundant words.

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  7. I am pretty sure somebody comes along behind me and inserts the word "that" into all my sentences. Because I know I take them out whenever I see them!

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  8. Ha--my critique group was great and pointed out my overuse of the word "so" in my historical fiction novel. It's nice when I don't have to go hunting for it!

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  9. Yes, once my critique partners started pointing out repetitive words, I did a search and was surprised. I think my bane is the word 'felt.' (And not as in 'Muppet.')

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  10. It's said for me...though I think I've overcome that by simply describing actions.

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  11. I just use the word just too much just because it's just so useful. I just can't stop! Actually "just" for me is often part of voice - so I have to be careful not to overuse it, but to use it when it works!

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  12. I'm getting better at realizing I'm overusing a word but I'm still shocked with I use the find feature. I've read lots of famous authors who overuse some words too, so I think we're in good company. (Not that we're not famous)

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  13. I do use Find to locate words I use too often but I'd rather read my work out loud and let my ear catch the repeats. It usually does.

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  14. I like Alex's word. I try not to use the same word too often, but I only blog and don't use many words so it's often easy. Not always, but often.

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  15. One of my beta readers pointed out that fully half of my characters had names that started with "H." I had no idea.

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  16. Oh poor you having a sleepless night! I know what that's like.

    I know I write the same things over and over, but can't think what at the moment. I find that getting hubby to read out my MS to me helps me hear the voice and identify the things that others will notice that me just reading it doesn't

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  17. I use 'then' too much. I'm going through the manuscript that I plan to submit to ABNA... and I'm removing a lot of 'thens'.

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  18. You're not crazy...I would do the same thing. Well, maybe we are both crazy! ;-) I haven't used that feature. I use the word "just" WAY too much...evening when I am speaking. Ugh. Bad habits.

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  19. I used to over use 'some'. Now I'm aware of the problem, I try to be more accurate (where appropriate) and hopefully that's sorted that one out.

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  20. I use "but," which also needs to be removed because it dilutes narrative suspense. So does "then," "and," and so many other pesky little words like that.

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  21. I'm a recovering 'thatahoholic'. Lately, I've taken to using 'so' a lot. One of my crit parnters pointed out that 'inane' appears at least once in everything I write.

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  22. Not sure what's currently peppering my writing, but I know in emails and comments, I use "ALSO" a lot and "totally." It's a problem. :P

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  23. I know what you mean. I was stunned to learn the amount of times I used certain words. I am trying a software program that searches for overused words (among other mistakes). I cannot decide whether I hate it or love it. Here is a link in case anyone is interested. http://www.autocrit.com/

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  24. I just made a note to try out the find feature. Ekk.

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