Tag Archives: Words you hate

What the… Oh My Gosh, Oh No, Oh Crap, and whatever…

Final edits can be maddening, can’t they? As I go through my list of overused words, I always find new things that make me giggle.

My current giggle-a-thon is coming in the form of teenage explicatives.  They sound perfectly right in-context. “Oh my gosh, you are not going to do that!”

Buy when I ran a search on “Oh” and my screen lit up with pretty highlights—I realized how many of my main character’s dialog lines start with the word “Oh”.  It’s funny really.

The good thing about using the search feature to ferret out these little problem is you can look at each instance outside of the frame of the narrative.  It’s much easier to edit when you are not getting “caught up” in the story.

So, at the moment I am in final edits for Fire in the Woods, and I am removing a good portion of the “Oh my gosh”, “Oh my God”, “Oh crap,” and of course, the every-so intrusive “umm”.

Of course, I am leaving in a few for color, but I’m trying to cut my repetition down to once every ten pages or more. (Quite a feat at times.)

How do you search and destroy over-used words and phrases?

JenniFer_EatonF

It. I Really Hate It.

I have a new word to add to my hate list.  It’s “it”.

I am trying to hand my publisher a clean manuscript.  The analyzer asked me the remove 5 cases of “there” (no problem) Once case of something else (it was easy, so I don’t remember).  It told me that I had 109 uses of “it” and I should remove 52 of them.

This task was definitely a little more daunting.  In the end, I was able to get it down to 77 cases.  The analyzer is still telling me to remove 20 cases, but these are all in dialog.  If you haven’t noticed, people use “it” in dialog, and if you try to remove “it” your characters start to sound like Robots… so my “its” are staying.  If the living breathing editors want to mention it, I will deal with it then.

One thing I did learn though, is that narration can be stronger without the word “it”.  Here are a few real case examples from LAST WINTER RED

In this first example, I took out both “it” and the second reference to the basket:

She raced past the death and decay and threw her arms around his neck, tipping her basket to the side.  Lori grabbed it before the vials spilled.  Her eyes narrowed disapprovingly as she set the basket on the table beside them. 

This paragraph always bothered me, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.  Now it flows much better… The revise, without the “it” and the second “basket”

She raced past the death and decay and threw her arms around his neck, tipping her basket to the side.  Lori grabbed the wicker handle before the vials spilled.  Her eyes narrowed disapprovingly as she set the precious parcel on the table beside them. 

 

Here’s another one.  Same as before, it wasn’t reading well.  We will be removing two occurrences of “it”.  I changed “the well” because I used the word “well” in the previous paragraph

He pulled on the strings, and a bucket rose from the well.  He tipped it to fill her pail and handed it back to her.

Changed to:

He pulled on the strings, and a bucket rose from the ground.  He poured the water into her pail and passed the handle to her, balancing the container with his other hand. 

When you pull these examples out of the text, these changes almost seem obvious, but believe me, all my betas read right over this, and I need to admit that the sentences are richer without that annoying little “it”.

How do you feel about “it”?