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?”

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Responses

  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.
    Kimberley

  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.
    grins,
    Cathryn


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