Monday, May 6, 2013

(Don't) Play it Again, Sam

It's not only a new month (Yay for May!) but it is also time for a new blog chain. Today Christine is kicking things off with this question:

What are your "go-to" scenes or phrases? You know, the ones you have to remind yourself NOT to use too frequently? What do you do to keep yourself from being overly reliant on them?          

Oh, this question is so perfectly timed since I was just last week finished working on the first round of revisions for my next book and WOW it was very clear to me that I am still way too reliant on certain words.

Specifically JUST and THOUGH.

Just is a junk word that is almost never necessary. AND YET, I love it so. It just (see that there?) adds a little dash of something extra that I love. Sometimes (as in the previous sentence) I will replace it with a 'simply', but it's never as satisfying as a just.

Though, though, is such a lovely transition word. To my ear, it is more invisible than 'however' or the incredibly similar, yet not quite as pleasing 'although'. I just(!) love it.   

So those are my two big crutch words. I also have a punctuation crutch - the dash. Sometimes a comma would be better or a semi-colon (which I doubt I will ever feel completely confident in using), and yet I still reach for - the dash.

As for Christine's final question - how do I kick the habit? That's a question I'm still trying to figure out. Even when I try to be aware and kick these bad habits in the first draft - they somehow sneak in when I am distracted by the larger problems of plotting and characterization. I guess the only really good solution is CTRL+F aka search and destroy.

I've confessed my literary sins, now it's time for the rest of the blog chain to 'fess up, starting with Sandra tomorrow.


  1. Way to kick off the topic, Kate! I'm like you with just and though. I think CTRL +F is the best function ever. I use it daily whether I'm searching relevant info on a website quickly or whether I'm revising my own work. 'Just' is just such a great word! I also tend to use prepositions too much, like leaning BACK or going UP. In revision, I try to search and destroy these pointless words.

  2. I use though all the time too. I definitely can't kick my overused words in the first draft either...gotta get them in editing :)