Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh, Not Again! Revising at the Word Level

I'm not getting anywhere with actually writing, so I've decided to go back and work on more revision of Novel #4. I'm making word clouds of chapters or sections of the book to help uncover overused words. Then I use the Word "find" feature to search for all instances of the word.

Who knew there were so many ways to use the word "back"? Once I started  looking for them, they drove me crazy:

back home
lean back
shrink back
whisper back
go back
turn her back
back at...
smile back
back away
come back
look back

Argh. I've even used it at the beginning of this post!

Some of my other problem words are look, know, and saw (but at least I already knew about those). How can my third draft sound so much like a first draft? Getting rid of overused words is a great way to make your writing stronger. In many cases, deleting is the best solution.


  1. LOL! Every writer has their pet words. For me it was 'just'. AHHHH!

  2. We all have them. I believe mine are just, look, and and. I love wordle too.

  3. 'Just' is probably my favorite word in the English language, although my cps could probably point out a few more for me :)

  4. I have a problem with "just" and "that." I've learned to stop each time I write or see one of those words and reconsider if it's really needed. (By the way, "really" is quickly becoming one of those problem words for me, too! LOL)

  5. Yes, I overuse words too. I have to admit if I edit back to back I might miss them. I try and take a long break after a few edits to see if I can come at it with fresh eyes. Great post.

  6. I tend to overuse body parts (ike hair and eyes). It's great to know you weak point--easier to fix if you know what you're looking for!

  7. Oh, and proofread your own writing--LOL--like comments on blogs. Two typos in my previous comment! Must be Saturday morning... :)

  8. Oh, I have a problem with "just" and "really" too, though I usually remember to get rid of those while I'm writing. And "but".

    Kris, I'm going to have to look to see if I do that body part thing. It's funny how you can have so many instances of something in your work, and not notice sometimes.

  9. I can sooo relate! Some of my pet words in my writing: just, looked, and saw.

    Good luck with the revision! :)


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