I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript. Yep, you can join in the fun, too. Let’s take a looksee at topic #29
I Love Love Love smile and shrug. I’ve learned to curb my sighing, but I used to be guilty of that too.
I think smiling and grinning are overused in a lot of writing. I really don’t worry about it in a first draft. I let them smile and shrug away. But these words are on my list of little buggers to pare down when I’m all done.
I just go in to my manuscript, do a search for “shrug” and my manuscript lights up like a Christmas tree. So like a good little editor, I give my manuscript a present and curb them down to once every 50 pages or so.
Smiling Sadly has to do with that “ly” rule. Almost every “ly” word can be removed from a manuscript. I try not to type them at all, even in a first draft.
What words do you overuse? Do you smile sadly while you shrug off your grin?
- Smirk, Grin, or Smile (repost) (cultofracewood.com)
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
“PEOPLE DO JUDGE YOU BY THE WORDS YOU USE”—a commercial
Shrugging, nodding, head shaking and sighing are definitely things I need to watch out for when revising.
Guilty of smile and shrug overuse. Better with sighing but could probably do that better, too. Given I write thrillers, I’m trying to cut down on the ‘pulse quickened’ type stuff. I find the Emotion Thesaurus very useful, but even those phrases can be overdone.
Yeah. It’s rally hard because in real life we are repetitive creatures, right?
And it’s just easier not to have to think so hard…
Really enjoyed ‘Paper Wishes,’ by the way. You have that crisp, clean writing style I love. Even got me to read a romance. 😉
Yay! I saw your review. It made my day. I’m hoping to get some high adventure out there soon. Two finished novels in the pipeline and a WIP 25% in to the first draft.
Wow. You’re a machine!
I write to keep my sanity. How’s your new book coming?
I’m waiting to hear back from the first agent I queried. He takes 4-6 weeks to respond, and it’s been 2 so far. Trying to be patient…
The one at a time approach? You ARE a patient person. I need to get more queries out there.
Well, I only plan on being exclusive to this first one. I met him at ThrillerFest, and he was at the top of my list. After I hear back from him (assuming rejection…) I’ll do a few at a time. I have ten total from ThrillerFest who requested a partial or full MS, so I’ll work my way through them.
Ten? That’s awesome! Good luck!
So true! People do go through our lives sighing, shrugging and smiling… but as authors, we have to find fresh ways to describe these actions. Just one of our many challenges.
Ooooo. You just made me think of a follow-up post
” really don’t worry about it in a first draft. I let them smile and shrug away.” Really nice. First drafts should be happily written – it can all be prettied/neatened up later.
Yeah. I hate editing them all out though. What a drag.
Sadly, I probably use smile, shrug & grin far too much! I will keep this tip in mind next time I am tempted to let my characters be so cheerful! lol
In YA and MG this is hard (for me) because kids tend to be happy. It’s when they get jobs that it all goes south.
While “shrug” shows up a lot, my biggest offense is that people will “shake their head.” A lot. Every character in my universe probably has major neck problems…
Yeah, I do that too. It’s one of the things I search for in the final edit. Thanks for commenting!
I just know that my NaNo MS is stuffed to the gills with ‘that’s and ‘looked’s and … and … everything! But I don’t care 😀
P.S. I’ll care in January when I start editing.
Yeah. They say to not worry about that during nano. But I find it harder to edit later than to write correctly the first time.
Me too … but I figured I’d try it, just this once.
Good luck in December!
my teens grin and flash coy smiles. I can’t help it. There’s just not a lot to smile about when a dragon is trying to kill you. 🙂 *grin*
I can’t imagine a coy smile if something was trying to eat me either.
No, I don’t like these shrugging, grinning, smiling characters.
I prefer to describe their faces: the tight mouth, the shining row of XXX teeth, laugh lines, eyes that dance, sparkle, or shine.
I can’t draw worth a picture but I try to paint. 😉
Painting is great!
Thanks, Jennifer. 🙂