Posted by: reneewildes1 | April 11, 2010

“FAVORITE” words of writers (not necessarily editors)

My obedience trainer at PetsMart won’t let us use the word “NO” because up here in WI a favorite catch phrase is “you know?” and dogs can’t tell the difference. Having just finished edits for my upcoming “Dust of Dreams” (sheesh, I just typed “Drams” – what am I, a time-traveling apothocary?) I can tell you that I apparently have other “favorite words” that appear in my manuscripts on a fairly regular basis. The reason they do not appear in my BOOKS is because of a long-suffering saintly editor who has a highlighter and is NOT afraid to use it.

In “Dust” it was “eyes.” If eyes are the “windows to the soul” I have the most soulful characters in fiction b/c there were over 300 little highlighted peepers. I’m admittedly a visual person, so I always start w/visual description and then have to go in and re-layer w/sound/scent/etc. Apparently, all my characters are visual, too! <sigh> Linda innocently suggested I “describe the characters more for first-time readers” and the eye fiasco was the result.

I meant well. I had the best of intentions. But apparently my characters have no height, breadth, complexion – or hair. Just eyes. Argh! So how to go back and replace? One “long blond hair” here, one “growly” voice there. Also, an exhaustive use of my thesaurus – looked, glanced, glared, gazes that “sear” or “pin”, stared, frowned, etc.

That wasn’t the end of it. I’m also an ellipses (…) addict, and overly fond of “wet velvet” tongues. I also needed to develop her wings more (heroine Pryseis is a faerie, w/wings, who doesn’t fly – her wings are solar panels). I also have to watch for transposed letters. (I turned one character, “Vali”, into “Vila”!)

I’m not a writer. I’m a re-writer.

Thanks God for editors. Mine needs a raise!

“Dust of Dreams” comes out in all its diligently edited glory on July 13, 2010.

Anyone else out there have their own little “catch phrases?”



  1. Since we have the same editor… LOL, just had to throw in an ellipsis. I’m afraid I do a lot of shrugging and eye rolling.

  2. Hell yes! I’m an ‘almost’ junkie, an ‘for a moment’ addict and for some bizarre reason the word ‘clench’ comes up far more than is normal

    Of course erotic romance brings up its own problems….( yes I love ellipses too)

    BTW congratz on your nomination!

  3. I know the feeling. My favorite word seemed to be “sighed”. My characters were sighing so much you’d think they had some sort of lung problem. 😉

  4. Renee,
    my characters use their eyes a lot too. Looked, stared, glared…(and I love ellipses)
    “Just” is word I need to avoid at all costs or it pops up “just” about everywhere. There are many “but”s in my work too. Thank God for editors.

  5. A friend asked me if I knew I used “wonderful” a lot. I wasn’t aware I’d used it at all. It was in a print book, not a manuscript, and the editor hadn’t noticed either.

  6. This topic is exactly why I love the search and replace function. Plus, I’m better as a re-writer. In first drafts I just plow through to get the plot down pat. 🙂

  7. Hey, Renee, congrats on the upcoming new release!

    What a great topic! My word is growl. My vampires growl when they talk, fight, or make love; my heroines growl when they’re angry; my cars growl along the streets; and my stomach growls all the time…oh, wait, it’s time for lunch

  8. Hey, Renee! This is Molly from our long-suffering editor’s list, and she’d be the first to tell you that my characters smirk a lot. I mean A LOT. Whole lotta smirkin goin on.

    I used to be a sigh addict until I made fun of myself by saying my characters ought to pass out from hyperventilation. And, oddly enough, while I’m not a “that” person in conversation (in fact, I’ve been dubbed the That Nazi), I apparently use the heck out of it in prose. And then go back and axe probably 80% of them. Sheesh.

  9. One of my beta readers nailed me big-time for using “dork” way too many times in a recent manuscript. Of course, turn-about’s fair play, and I slammed her for using “crap” so many times my head just about exploded. 😉

  10. “Eyes” and “gaze” are my two big ones! But apparently I also throw out the word “extremely” about a thousand times an MS.

  11. What a fun blog.
    I myself am the queen of ‘Then’. The best way to begin a sentence.
    Also, I can not use a contraction. Why bother when my characters can speak formally?
    And I love exclamations points!!!!!
    Poor Linda, my editor.

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