I didn’t know the extent of my reliance on ‘bad words’ until I started the editing process. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I do a lot of presenting in my ‘day job’ and I recently realised I use the word ‘so’ instead of ‘um’ when I present. But one can be forgiven for the odd filler word here and there when talking in front of 200+ people. Those filler words are far less acceptable in the written format, however.
I’ve already completed two edits of my MS, Love en Pointe. The first was a read through immediately after I typed those famous words ‘the end’ on the last page of the Word document. I picked up a whole lot of types born out of the mania that was NaNoWriMo and fixed some clunky sentences. After I received feedback from my trust beta readers, I completed a more thorough edit by further weeding out typos and playing around the with order of a few scenes towards the beginning of the story. I also re-wrote one of the key scenes to strengthen the conflict.
At this point I thought my MS would be looking pretty good, I have another scene to write from scratch and a few character elements to tidy up. I also thought I had managed to weed out my nemesis word ‘just’ (seriously, I use it in every other sentence whether I’m writing a romance novel or an email.) Then I found this fantastic blog post from Cara Bristol about letting your computer edit out the ‘bad words’ (seriously, if you’re editing go and read that post.) Some such bad words include; just, really, totally, try, tried etc
I ran through Cara’s list and did a few ctrl+f searches, it appeared that my eyes had managed to glaze over a further 51 instances of ‘just’ even after I made a concerted effort to weed the suckers out! For shits and giggles (and because I’m a massive nerd) I typed all of the bad words into a spreadsheet and recorded how many times they came up in a ctrl+f search.
In total there were 3,578 bad words left in my MS after two edits. Three thousand, five hundred and seventy freaking eight.
… that’s rad
After I threw a small tantrum, defiantly watched crap on YouTube and pouted at my screen for longer than is healthy, I have started the long task of weeding out the bad words.
Have you ever counted up your bad words? Are there any words in particular that keep popping up when you write?