Sunday, January 24, 2010
Editing: Using Words Too Often
My editor returned Mistletoe Everywhere for edits. She didn't make that many changes, which means that I sent in a pretty clean copy, but every manuscript can use some improvement.
As I reread the story, I found that I use some words too often.
I didn't see them when I wrote the manuscript. Probably a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. But now, all those repeats glare back at me.
No one will notice "a", "and" or "the", no matter how many times you repeat them. Nor will they notice pronouns or "he said" or "she said", although you should use those tags as little as possible.
I'm talking about words like "turn", "face", "head", "place", and "look". Aarg! Using them once in a page is fine, but using them in two succeeding sentences is a no-no.
I search in Microsoft Word (my manuscript is a Word file) and write down the pages of all the occurrences of each word. Then I go back and rewrite sentences where these troublesome words occur too close together. And, lo and behold, the sentences sound better.
Ah, editing. What a wonderful process.
Thank you all,