Monday, August 25, 2014

I kind of think I probably don't need that....

Two years ago (!) I posed about the word "that"; how most sentences retain their meaning without it, how it's overused in writing (I definitely overuse it in my first drafts!), that kind of thing.

In editing The Last Song, I've noticed a couple of other words or phrases I've overused, the removal of which seem to strengthen the sentences, and the writing overall. "Probably" is one; it's one thing to use probably in conversation. It happens. It's cool. But in descriptions? It can be very frustrating to read "probably" over and over. You just want to know, "well is it or isn't it? Why won't you tell me?"

The same with "kind of", which has two meanings. There's "What kind of dog is that?" which okay, fine. You can say "type of" or "What breed" or whatever instead, but not too terrible. Then there's "It was kind of a pain". Is it or isn't it? "It was a pain." Say that instead (and there's that word again).

It's occurred to me to wonder if, organically, I've begun the attempt at removing most/all "weasel words" from my novel but no, apparently weasel words are something else and not like this:

But whatever words one might want to get rid of, suffice to say the "find" function you can do in a document is a Godsend.  Called somebody by two different names? Find and replace. Can't remember what kind of guitar it was? Find guitar. Did the thing with cats happen before or after this conversation? Find cats.