Monday, May 19, 2008

Words that Move

I have a list of words I check, whether in my own work or in that I edit. A list of words that do not move the action forward. Stalling words. Filler words. "Fluff" words.

When editing, I tell my authors to watch out for these and eliminate as many as they can. My one caution is that they can stay in dialogue, because that is how folks speak. Often authors find they can remove these words from dialogue as well and it speeds the reader along. I compiled this list from many sources, so I do not claim ownership of this list, nor it is comprehensive of all such "trouble" words that bore readers, but here you go.

Kelly's list of "throw-away" words:
in order to
a bit
a little
a lot

An example of how this improves the narrative? "John wanted some more of her kissing and hugging" vs. "John wanted more of her kissing and hugging." How about, "It was really a very cold day" vs. "It was a cold day" OR even better, get rid of "it was" and find a better verb. "Cold snapped across the pavement."

Do a "Find" and "highlight all" for each of these words. I highlight them gray so they are easy to spot but not obnoxious. Any that come up numbering less than say 15 occurances within 200 pages is not really a problem. However, if you find 300 "some" in that many pages, ya have to take a look at that.

Happy weeding!

Kelly Schaub
Yellow Faery

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