January 13, 2014

And All That Just: ROW80

Do you have a word you use more often than others? 

If you are like me, you do and are completely unaware of it. 

I would be a millionaire if I was paid a nickle for every all and just I've used lately. It so saturates my speech that I even miss it in editing... read right over it. I just can't help myself. *Damn, I did it again.*

As an editor, I know I need to do a search and find for those two words and edit them away. Yet, I live in some state of denial about my problem. I have such an eye for detail in others' work, but float right past it when editing my own.

Lessons learned...

No matter how good an editor you are, you can't edit your own work with the same effectiveness.

At the end of the day, my brain knows what I wanted to say and keeps on going. Sure, I can do a rough edit so that my betas and editor don't get total crap, but I could never be my sole editor. I read out loud, comb through sentence by sentence, all the editor things I should do. Still, I am too familiar with my own work. 

Search and find your overused words.

I didn't totally realize my all and just problem until this novel. Admission: my mom went through and circled every single one -- and yes, my mom reads my manuscripts. She's a darn good writer in her own right, and she has a detailed eye. In a previous manuscript, I had a then problem. So of course, I was sensitive to overusing that word in this one. Next time, I'll be hyper-vigilant about all and just. So guess what? A new word will surface. To be safe, search your manuscript for the following (and add your own words as you discover them): all, just, very, ly, like, that, so. 

What other overused words would you add to this list?

And it's Monday. Time for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update. 

Editing Chasing Shadows. 

Correcting some all and just issues to start. The whole time, All That Jazz was running through my head, slightly altered.

Find a flask
We're playing fast and loose
To Find All that Just

Oh, she's gonna shimmy
Till her garters break
To Find All that Just

A bit consumed with editing right now to focus on much else. I need to take a break this week long enough to get my website up and running, but I am doing better on social media balance. 

Wishing everyone a great week!


Stephsco said...

I think most writers struggle with that and just. I don't let myself worry about them too much in a first draft. Later I pick them out. "As" is another one to look out for. I see beginning writers do this a lot, where the characters are always doing something as they are doing something else. Often times breaking these concepts into two sentences reads stronger, or reducing the number of instances helps streamline the writing.

I have a bad habit of starting too many sentences with And or But. Sometimes that works, but often it's the pause we are looking for, and there are effective ways to build that within in sentence withouht constantly violated grammar rules (though I still do it sometimes!).

I also have sentence pattern habits where I use "and" or "and then" a lot to combine ideas in one sentence. In a lot of these instances the sentences read better broken into two so there aren't so many things going on in one sentence.

Unknown said...

Haha oh yes, boy. My friend is good at finding mine. It usedto be "and then" and now it's "almost".
Personally, I think I overuse "softly" but that's just because I liked to write characters who, well, if I was in the moood to describe every one of their actions with an adverb, would do everything this way ;). Damn me!

Nice use of your week!

krystal jane said...

Search and Find is awesome!

I am one of those people who think I can find everything on my own, but you are so right. I know what it's supposed to say, and it is very hard to slow down long enough to catch every single nuancy thing. Very hard.

ALL is a difficult word to find because of how many words I use that those letters are in. But I only found 12 instances of JUST. I was surprised, because I use that word at least 5 times in every blog I post. *shrug* It's a miracle, it's really is.

alberta ross said...

I run mine through autocrit.com - picks number of overused words and phrases- like you changes with every manuscript - mortifying to see overused some become.

when one takes them out and has to think of something better eh voila a better sentence!:)

Jo Michaels said...

They aren't too bad. Don't get your knickers in a twist over there :) I'm working on it again today. Just go on with the short you were writing and put this one out of your mind for right now.


Tia Bach said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting. First drafts find these things. Thank goodness! I find it funny how I realize my own speech patterns through writing. :-)