Monday, April 12, 2010

My List of Annoying Words

When editing, I eventually get down to my 'List of Annoying Words' which I plug into my search box one by one and try to eliminate or change and, although, this is a personal thing, I thought writers who love to overwrite (like myself) might find it useful.

'Past'- why? because I seem to interchange 'passed' and 'past' on whim.

'Answered'- to replace or eliminated he/she 'answered' where possible

‘seemed’- because most often, things don’t ‘seem’ that way, they ARE that way

‘Sudden’- because any phrase that starts with ‘Suddenly’ isn’t so sudden

‘But’- I use this to start phrases all the time so I’m trying to change it where possible and evit run on’s in certain cases

‘Just then’- same reason as ‘suddenly’-plus, phrases are stronger when we’re thrown into the action

Anything ending in ‘LY’- this is mostly for my unnecessary adverbs.  See this link.

‘Sort’- It’s not a ‘sort’ of rock. It is a rock.

‘Somewhat’- again. Like being ‘somewhat’ pregnant. You either are, or you aren’t.

‘And’- to limit my adjectives. ‘It was large and magnificent’- I need to pick one. And to evit run on’s once again.

‘Found’- she found herself feeling. He found himself thinking. They found themselves standing. Why is everyone always ‘finding themselves’? ugh!

‘Said’- ‘Yes’ she said. ‘Why?’ he said. ‘Because.’ He said. Or ‘Yes.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because.’

‘Felt’- ‘She felt a rumbling in her stomach’ becomes ‘Her stomach rumbled.’


‘Began’- ‘The ground began to shift. They were beginning to get frightened.’ Becomes ‘The ground shifted under their feet. They cried out, frightened.

‘Herself’- again. ‘asked herself’ ‘told herself’ ‘thought to herself’ ‘HATED herself!?’

‘Themselves’- same thing

‘Could be seen’ – ‘The boys could be seen standing by the water.’ Becomes ‘The boys stood by the water.’

These are all words that I picked up on over and over again througout my manuscript and they drove me nuts. So I hope compiling this list might help others who make the same mistakes as me. All the time.


JE said...

Those are good words - some I will even be adding to my "remove" list. I'm going to do a grammar post about this sometime. There are A LOT of words like this. Crazy!


Shelley Sly said...

Oh, I can relate to this post. These are all words that I KNOW I shouldn't be using, but they're still in my MS, along with an abundance of "really" and "very". Sigh...

Fun post, though.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm really bad about using seemed. For some reason I can't remember that readers are smart enough to figure out metaphors, even when they're not similes that use like or and!

Thanks CQG.

Creepy Query Girl said...

The worst part is, no matter how times I go through it, I'll still find words that have snuck by during previous edits. I forgot to mention another one- my characters constantly 'mount'. Mount the stairs, mounted the hill, mounted through the wilderness. Never climb, never clamor. Just 'mount'. Why? Who knows...

Talli Roland said...

Ah yes! KILL the adverbs, she answered, seemingly courageously.


Lindsay said...

Hey, great post. I was reading thinking, yeah I do that. I write that. lol. I've lost count of the hours I've spent going over my MS and removing those crutch words.

Tahereh said...

LOL great list! and good luck with your MS!!

you're on the right track ;D

Vicki Rocho said...

I'll be borrowing this list now. Sometimes I'm typing along and I KNOW there's a better word to use, but I can't think of it so I just stick the generic word in there so I can keep going. By the time I get around to revisions, I'm probably going to want to rethink that practice!

Jessica Bell said...

Wow. This post is such an eye opener. I think I'm going to have to search and find through my ms too now. Great list. I shall be borrowing it too :) Spotted a few that I do constantly. Find and REPLACE!

India Drummond said...

My big 'remove it now' word is "just". I use it so much!

"I just hated it." instead of "I hated it."

It's nearly invisible to me!

India Drummond said...

Oh... I meant to ask.. are you on Twitter?

Bish Denham said...

Great list. I like to eliminate "had" (had been, had seen, had felt....) and those extrat "thats."

Anonymous said...

AA- I know how you feel. I had a tough time figureing out what the hell 'revisions' meant before finally looking up books and web info ont he subject. I got a lot of great pointers on my writer's forum though.

India- Nope, not on twitter yet but probably some time soon. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I checked yours out too but I didn't think there was a 'follow' option.

Bish- yeah those 'hads' tend to put the whole thing in the passive instead of active tense. It's a pain, like removing prickers that are keeping the story held captive.

Stina said...

Great list! I've made some of these mistakes. Some I've recently learned were mistakes. I'm printing this out as a remember. Thanks. <<<3

Lydia Kang said...

Nice list. (Raises hand). I'm guilty.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

I'd take "said" over other flowery dialogue tags any day. In moderation, of course.

This is a great list.

Unknown said...

Hey, you have a great blog here!

I am guilty of many examples above. Must work on that....

Will be following :)


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