Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Over use

She turned around and looked down the path she had just walked.

I've been going through each chapter and highlighting words I over use. Four of the worst offenders are in the sentence above.

Any guesses?

It's been an interesting exercise in trying to figure out different ways to say the same thing. I'm always amazed at how I can miss using the same word within one paragraph. Anyone else feel that way?

13 comments:

Susan R. Mills said...

'Turned around' is a huge one for me. I also tend to say 'turned and walked away' a lot. Urg! When will I ever be able to control it?????

Victoria Dixon said...

"down" and "up" are on my permanent "look for and delete these words" list. I once had a friend ask me, "Where else are you likely to look for the moon?" Seriously, unless it's reflected in a pond, in which case you've probably already set that scene, where else would you look than up? ;D

Everyone has this type of problem and if they say they don't, they're lying. LOL.

strugglingwriter said...

Turned around and looked down?

Yeah, these are common and I'm sure I've done it. Recognizing the problem is more than half the battle :)

Cammie said...

Whew - it's nice to know I'm not the only member of "Turning Around" Anonymous. My characters don't really have a problem "looking" or "walking," though ... but they sure do "gaze" and "stroll" a lot! ;-)

Paul Greci said...

Turned around, looked down.

And it is interesting to figure out how to say things differently, or even have our characters do different things.

And when you start seeing one or two all of a sudden they are everywhere.

Once I was on a backpacking trip and my wife was trying to point out the forget-me-nots, a beautiful flower that we almost never see, that she saw. I kept looking where she was pointing and couldn't see them. And suddenly they were every where. Thousands of them, so many that I didn't see them at first. I find words or mannerisms like that in my manuscripts. Somehow I refocused and noticed the repetition when I was ready, I guess.

Patti said...

Susan: I used to use turned around all the time, now I just write turned, but even then I use that too much, and as you can see I've also written use four times alone.

Victoria: I feel the same way about stood up, where else would you stand.

SW: I'm amassing quite a list.

Cammie: I replaced looked with glanced and now I over use that word.

Paul: Nice analogy and having done some hiking in my time, I know what you mean.

Heidi Willis said...

I'm guessing looked, turned, and just because those are some of my very worst culprits! Also, use, which you used in your comment!

In the last section sent, my editor marked two paragraphs where I used the same word four times! I didn't even notice them!

melane said...

My guess is turned around, looked down, had just, using she twice in the sentence.

I'm so guilty of the turned around phrase, too. I never see it while I'm typing, but it's so obvious when I edit.

I gave you an award on my blog. Stop by when you can to collect.

Tamika: said...

Turned around, had, just.

I am guilty of all the same pitfalls.

Scary...

Kasie West said...

Looked (or 'look' is a big one of mine)
She (I'm always trying to cut down my use of she/he)
just (I've been good about cutting that lately)

Hmm, I'm not sure on the fourth since I don't know what your 'go to' words are. That was a fun game. :)

Heidi Willis said...

I like your new look!

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

just? That is a bad one for me! It's "just" so easy to use. It "just" works for me. I think I might "just" try and stop writing "just"!! Yes, I'm a "just" offender. I JUST like it!

xoxo -- Hilary

Patti said...

Kasie: I'm a big abuser of the word looked. I've substituted words like resembled, glanced, peered.

Hilary: I should probably check "just" just to make sure I'm not over using that word as well.