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  1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Is there a word you use too much?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by doggiedude, Mar 26, 2016.

    After going back and starting to reread my WIP I found that I've been using the word "Just" entirely too much. I used my find & replace function to look for instances of "just". In a 90,000+ document it shows up 354 times. Yuck.
    edit ... edit ... edit.
    I also noticed that may dialogue begins with "Well, " entirely too often. (But not as bad as the just thing.)
    I wondered what other words might be lurking that are overused. I found a link to something that can find it for me. I haven't tried the document yet but I probably will.
    http://www.textfixer.com/tools/online-word-counter.php

    Are there any words that you find yourself struggling NOT to use?
     
  2. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I use adjective for speech a lot, and sometimes I think it's too much because of the whole "convey tone and stuff through different methods" things. But IDK where's the line?
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I'm a just-er in my personal written communications: forum posts, emails, etc.

    In fiction, I use 'grinned' far too often.

    My characters sigh a lot, too.

    In first drafts, I always have way too much looking going on. I have to explain who's looking at who and then when they look away and then when they look back.

    All of these things get Ctrl+F'ed and cut mercilessly in editing.

    If I have other pet words, they haven't been pointed out to me. Yet!
     
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  4. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    I use "really" a lot. Also "a lot". Way too over used.
     
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  5. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I also notice that the phrase .. Mr. Whoever paused to think about that before saying, "
    the paused to think thing needs to change. I'll let it stay some of the time but I need another way of phrasing the same concept.
     
  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Bob considered before saying, "
    Bob hesitated before saying, "
    Bob pondered before saying, "
    Bob deliberated before saying, "

    ?

    I'd be inclined to do it with a beat though.

    Bob adjusted the paper weight on his desk before replying, "
     
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  7. TheRealStegblob
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    TheRealStegblob Active Member

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    Do I have some? Yeah, sure. I know for a fact I use 'eyebrows' way too much.

    Do I worry too much about it? Eh, not really. If we burned every author who had a go-to 'overused term/word', we'd burn every author ever.
     
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  8. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    The issue I have with this issue is a lot of the things you might say too much are also common, useful words. How do you decide what too much is? Sometimes I worry that the writing community seems to hold on too much to indirectness. That we sometimes encourage try-hard attempts to be super poetic and sophisticated when sometimes you just need to say shit plainly. IDK.:superthink:
    EDIT: Not saying there's no such thing as too much or anything.
     
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  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    @Oscar Leigh for me, too much is when a common word or phrase stops being invisible. For example, I recently beta read a book where the author (like me) had a lot of sighing going on. It got to the stage where every time I saw 'sigh' on the page it glared out at me like it was highlighted in neon. It was a distraction.

    Words are there to convey the story, right? So when they distract a reader from the story, they need to go.
     
  10. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Agreed. I was just pondering the other side of things. It's good to question stuff so you don't take it for granted. I write books like Marilyn Mason writes music. :D
     
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  11. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Yep, I'm with you. I'm about the least poetic writer ever, and there's a lot to be said for writing "she sighed" than "she exhaled more breath than was strictly necessary for respiratory purposes".
     
  12. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Does anyone get the Marilyn Manson reference? There's this interview with Bill O'Reilly (urgh) where he talks about flipping common morals around to make people question them so they don't take anything for granted. That's what I was referencing. That philosophy which I share is why I'm so obsessed with complex morality and giving all characters a chance to get to the audience if I can. :p
    EDIT: shit, I said "takes." :bigoops:
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
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  13. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I'm not looking to remove common words and sayings. It's only that different people should talk differently. When I noticed that the dialogue for ALL of my characters were starting sentences with "Well ..." or having them all use "just" frequently it wasn't making sense.
    I'm thinking about limiting the "Well..." to only one character so that one person has the trait in his vernacular.
    But the "just" thing just needs to go.
    it's just wrong
    I just can't stand reading it anymore
    Just.
    giggity giggity
     
  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Ooh yes, I'm a "Well..." overuser, too. @doggiedude we should start a rehab group.
     
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  15. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    In my current 27000+ WIP.
    simply= 12 times.
    Threatened= 14 times.
    Still= I stopped counting at 60. Geez, I think I have a problem.
    Just= wow, this has been an informative exercise, gonna go in the corner and cry. Over 70 times.
     
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  16. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Still, you could simply join a support group if you feel threatened.
     
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  17. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    We could start a 12 step JUST group

    Unfortunately, those meetings usually end by saying the "Just For Today" prayer.
    sigh
     
  18. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    This is me, in a fetal position. :rofl:

    Speaking of which, hysteria, hysterical, and all of it's forms, make honorable mention at nine occurrences. Overwhelmed, should also get a nod.
     
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  19. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Perplexed.
    Confused, befuddled, addled, puzzled, baffled, dumbfounded, bewildered, muddled, and flummoxed.
    My MC spends a good deal of the wondering just what the hell her companions are doing.
     
  20. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Grinned, smiled, sighed and all the various forms are common but I'm not sure there's much I can do about those. I need to show emotions somehow.
     
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  21. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    In my WIP certain things cause repeats and I find there's not much I can do about 'em. It's a prison they all wear coveralls so coveralls comes up a lot, so does the name of the prison, and because the mc limps - limped or hobbled is pretty frequent and the f-word well, I'm trying not to lean on it but whoa, nelly. I'm using it a lot.
    Other than that I'm not sure. I'll probably turn out like Nabokov with a lot of pet words. Every time he describes a woman I think here come the downy limbs - :)
     
  22. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I never read Nabokov but the imagery of downy limbs is kinda cool.
    ohh ....that makes me think of another thread discussion topic I can start.
    :)
     
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  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Similar to your "well" heading the sentences in dialogue, I've got a bad habit of using "So, blah, blah, blah..."

    I ran a text statistics in Scrivener on one of my WIP's and, thankfully, the top words are all ones that would be expected.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 2.28.05 PM.png
     
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  24. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This looks handy.
    Does Scrivener have anything that highlights your text when you're grammar is off?
     
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  25. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. I have mine turned off, though. When you're a fan of fragments, the constant on-screen admonition is annoying. :bigmeh: :-D Functions just like in Word. You'll note I have only spelling checked in my Scrivener, not grammar.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 3.21.32 PM.png
     
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