I hope you are keeping warm and aren't buried under a snow drift (like me) ;o)
So. I completed my NaNo novel '10! (no applause, it's really such a mess still)
But. I realized something while revising... I repeat words. A lot. So-called crutch words can bog down your story. I know it does mine... So. Let's break out that magnifying glass and see if we can find out why we use these words and how we can change it...
Let's explore this conundrum together through bullet points, shall we?
Why do I use those pesky crutch words?
- You're comfortable with them, in a pinch they always give you a warm hug and make you hot cocoa to sip on.
- You can't think of anything else to use and you're about to fist pound the next thing you see out of your peripheral vision if you have to transform another sentence into the same thing, then back again, then back to what it was in the first draft... then...[insert scream or barbaric yawp]
- Sometimes your crutch words may actually work in the sentence. Wha? Yes. Sometimes your crutch words will work in a sentence. I'm saying it twice 'cause that's important to note.
- You tell yourself. "It's only a first draft. I'll get rid of all three hundred in the revision." Uh. No.
- It's okay my character loves to say "uh, and like and um," that's what she does, it's her personality. Okay. Don't cheat. Make sure if you use your crutch it's only a few times and spread it throughout your story.
What can I do if a crutch word suddenly crosses my path for the twentieth (or fiftieth, let's be honest) time?
- Read the sentence again or have someone else read it. Can they spot your crutch word? If the answer is yes, then change.
- Use it anyway. Rules are made to be broken ;o)
Okay... so you may be wondering, or not. What are mine? *poke, prod* I'll go first...
Like is a huge one for me (please refer to the blatant and embarrassing display of my crutch words above) also, looked, know, get, head, face, know and apparently eyes. Who knew?
A cool way to figure out yours is to use Wordle. I'm sure many of you know of this awesome site, but for those that don't... it's pretty cool. You take a bunch or words (or your blog url) and paste it in a box and poof, it spews out this cool looking shape thing that has all your lovely crutches to display for the masses.
Try it, then come back and tell me your crutch words ;o) Any other ideas on how to stop using those pesky overused words?
Okay, gold stars (virtual only, sorry) go to the one that tells me how many times I said crutch in this post!
Ha ha, crutch is my crutch word for this post.
Oh, it's National GO RED For Women day today, so be sure to wear your red and support awareness for women's (& men's) #1 Killer - Heart Disease.
Have a wonderful weekend!
erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan, AKA the frozen tundra, where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at ericachapman.com Crutch. Crutch. ha ha, do you ever read these bios?