Thursday, January 14, 2010

Is there an Echo is here?

Echoes are my nemesis. For some reason I like to use the same word over and over again. Lots of times it's just for one scene. Like the other day I was editing and I had used the word branch like seven times in two pages. First I highlighted them all then I went through to see if I really needed that sentence or if I was just repeating myself then I found other words for branch.

After I made my changes I used the Victoria read back feature and had the computer read it out loud to see if it still made sense.

I also seem to use the words; looked, turned, walked, around and only a lot. In my current WIP I'm trying hard to avoid these words all together. I had a friend tell me she allows herself two looked's per chapter. I've been reading a lot lately on choosing good verbs and I've been trying to do that with my current project. And when I read books I've been noticeing the verbs that other authors use.

I guess I just need to expand my vocabulary.

What about you? Do you have a hard time with echoes?

26 comments:

Carolyn V. said...

Yes, I use look alot and just. I'm going to have to go through my ms and try to change those.

Susan R. Mills said...

I struggle with echoes too, as you know. It's something I'm really watching for in my revisions.

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh yes!! I struggle with overusing certain words and I'm making a concious effort in my newest novel to eliminate some of my problem words. But it's hard!

Catherine Denton said...

Oh my gosh YES. "That" is my worst one, along with "look" "turned" and "blushed".

I've thought of making a verb notebook to write all the cool verbs I find in whatever book I'm reading at the time.
Winged Writer

Patti said...

Carolyn: I'm in the process of doing it again.

Susan: Not nearly as much as I do, as you know.

Jody: I feel like I'm almost scared to use those words in my new WIP

Catherine: I love that idea. I think I'm going to start doing that, maybe it will get me to read more.

Kasie West said...

OH yes. I find myself gravitating towards the same words all the time. I'm impressed that your friend can use "looked" only twice in a chapter. That's one of my big ones.

Heidi Willis said...

Yes! I have the same problems as everyone else: looked, turned, just...

I notice when authors use really good words, and don't use the ordinary ones. I'm working on it. I think it's like anything else you have to train yourself to do. Eventually, you find you're just not doing it as much anymore.

[obviously I'm not there yet! I just put "just"! :)]

You will never guess the word verification!!! ECHOE... SERIOUSLY!! I fib you not!!

Jessie Oliveros said...

My worst repeats are "the" and "and" and that blasted "a". I'd like to know what other words you found for the word "branch."

lotusgirl said...

yep. I will do the same thing through a section where certain words just keep coming back and then they aren't there at all in the next 20 pages. For what ever reason the day I wrote those pages that word was really speaking to me. Hopefully I've been able to eliminate and reword enough.

Kristi Faith said...

Oh yes, a terrible weakness of mine. I'm pretty well read, I have a good vocab, but sometimes a word just gets stuck in your flow of words. LOL

Southpaw said...

Heavens yes! Sometimes I wonder if my brain is on a loop.

Patti said...

Kasie: I'm always on the look out for other words that express looking. See I've already echoed.

Heidi: That's hilarous, and yet totally unexpected.

Jessie: Limbs and boughs

Lois: It's funny how it seems to come in bunches then disappear.

Kristi: Glad to see others have the same weakness as me.

Dara said...

I do. I use "voice" a lot. I know I don't have to, especially when the dialogue should suggest the tone, but I fell into that trap during this past NaNo.

"Looked" is another one I use entirely too much as well.

Robyn Campbell said...

I wonder why I can't FLOOD my MS with my fav word was. I use it ALL the time. Shoot. Oh and it. Another little diddly I love to use.

Potent, beautiful, powerful verbs. I keep trying to tell me, but me just doesn't want to listen. :-)

Jessica said...

Sometimes I do. Definitely do, by your friend's definition. Ack! I use look and eyes and gaze all the time. Yikes!

Melissa said...

I cringe every time I open a critique and see all of the highlighted words that I've repeated. Some of my favorites are just, look, and glance.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Definitely. Turns out my new over-used word is "still". :0)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

ABSOLUTELY! echo...echo...echo...:-)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I think they're like comfort mac & cheese. I've noticed mine are sometimes and way. Go figure.
~ Wendy

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh gosh, I do that! It is always some simple dumb word too. Like 'soft' or something. LOL.

Stephanie Faris said...

It can drive you CRAZY! Often it takes an outside eye to pick up on all these overusages so it's good you can detect those yourself.

Natalie said...

Echos drive me crazy! They are so easy to miss unless I read my manuscript aloud. Victoria sounds like an excellent solution. :)

Katie Ganshert said...

YEs! And yes, it does drive me crazy! My latest echo in novel 4...chaos. If I read the word chaos one more time, I'm going to scream.

T. Anne said...

Yes! I laugh when I do my edits. I refer to them as echo's too. Even when I think I'm being careful, they can sneak right in there!

Lisa and Laura said...

Yes! We keep a whole list of them! Eyes, looked, walked...so. hard. to. avoid.

Patti Lacy said...

Patti!

Great post!!

I have been trying to connect with the other Patti who writes!

The pub editor LOVES to "global" my words and present the list of "sobbed"--54 times screeched (25 times, (only owls screech this often)

With the Holy Spirit's help, it can be quite hilarious!!

Then come the edit!!!

Would LOVE to have you visit my place so we can confuse everyone with the two Pattis. www.pattilacy.com/blog.