Longest. Edit. Ever. The tediousness of overused words.

I usually edit out overused words last, but since a few beta readers pointed some out… I started fixing, and then the overused words snowballed.

I always have overused words. I think all authors do… but the quantity of words, sometimes appearing five times on the same page, astounded me.

Was it the speed I was writing? The lack of read-throughs before going to beta? (I usually read my manuscript five to ten times before going to beta)

I’m not sure, but I’m definitely not happy. What a terrible, tedious week.

Repeated words might not seem like a big deal, but they ruin the flow of a novel. They stand out, and can pull the reader from your story and remind them they are “only reading”.

Shame on me

That is NOT what I ever want to do to my readers. It is my job to help them escape for a little while. If they are reminded it is “just a book” then shame on me.

That’s why I took an entire week to tackle this before submitting to my editor. The only problem is that another beta pointed out a portion that would be more intense if I made one small point in the story a touch harder on my characters… and I agree.

So that leaves me with two weeks left to do another developmental edit/rewrite on the beginning of the story, and finish the re-write of the ending that I inadvertently started while getting rid of the repeated words in the last two paragraphs. PLUS do a complete final read-through start to finish.

Two weeks until the deadline?

Arghhh! PictureNo, this is not where I would like to be so close to the novel being due… Especially since ASHES IN THE SKY went up on Goodreads this weekend, and  I was supposed to start EMBERS IN THE SEA last Wednesday.

Tons, tons, tons of pressure… But I WILL get this manuscript in on time.

And I will try my best NOT to make sleep optional.

What words have you seen overused in novels?

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15 responses to “Longest. Edit. Ever. The tediousness of overused words.

  1. Pingback: The Dreamweaver's Cottage

  2. I’ve been using the thesaurus like crazy lately trying to avoid overuse of words. I read some where that you should never use the same descriptive words twice in a paragraph and try you best to avoid it for every page.

  3. Lately I’ve been coming across, ‘hummed’. As in, ‘she hummed thoughtfully’ … very weird. Is there a new meme I’ve missed? 🙂

  4. Yeah, that list to check keeps getting long, and I suspect it will continue to do so after every beta round on every story. I think my mind decides that if it has to give up one “favorite,” it’ll find another!

  5. Every author’s nemesis! LOL It used to be eyes, put, and just. Now I see that my new work has with a billion times and for. LOL

  6. In his novel 11/22/63, Stephen King used the word ‘obdurate’ a trizzillion times. Made me nuts. Because of the meaning, I wondered if it was on purpose, but that didn’t help either. 😦

  7. I just finished a final run through after my editor’s changes, and I noticed I used the word ‘lunged’ about four times (as in, he lunged at her). Maybe that’s not much for a whole novel, and my editor didn’t say anything about it, but I noticed it. So I changed one to a ‘he charged’ and another to ‘he sprang’. Funny the little things we notice. Good luck!