Today, after finishing up what may be the final readthrough of Book Three pre-editor, I did my traditional search through the text for words I know I overused. I got off easier on this book than usual, perhaps as a result of writing with focus rather than whenever I could squeeze a few hundred words in. That said, in case you’re interested in writer process stuff, here’s today’s self-generated tasklist for ‘delete words I know I’m using too often.’
- Purpling (I used it twice in the book, and that’s once too many.)
- Retreat (which should only be used if someone’s actually retreating, or if the notion of retreat is metaphorically valuable. Or if someone’s being given two desserts.)
- yawning (in the sense of distance—again, used it three times, which is two too many)
- dark (dark dark dark dark dark!)
- shadow (which I used much less in this book than usually)
- world (you laugh, but when your characters start talking about metaphysics and global economics, this word gets worn out.)
- froze (as in, ‘in fear’)
- shook (especially in the context of shaking heads, but in the general oscillatory context as well)
I’m probably missing others, but that’s the immediate list.
Some more statistics for you: first draft of this book: 159,000 words give or take. Third: 116,000. Current (which is draft 7 or 8): 100,300. Very pleased with what I’ve accomplished here. And trust me, you won’t miss those extra words. I don’t even know where they came from, and I wrote them all!