Thursday, September 11, 2008

Word Abuse.

If you've read a fair amount, you've probably noticed that some authors use certain words or phrases repeatedly throughout their writing. It's an easy thing to do -- sometimes it's just part of the writer's voice, and sometimes it's just a bad habit. So, from time to time, I will scan my documents for words and phrases that I know I'm guilty of overusing, just to see how many times they appear.

Sometimes the results are amusing, especially when the words generally refer to things that my characters do. This is the result from my current work in progress (112,000 words):
  1. nodded - 165 (that seems like a lot...I'm thinking Parkinson's or something...)
  2. pain - 128 (yep...I'm a bitch to my characters)
  3. curse - 73 (those foul-mouthed fuckers! I can't imagine where they get it...)
  4. glare - 71 (hmm...I think we have some anger management issues going on here)
  5. shook - 68 (yep...Parkinson's...)
  6. stare - 62 (staring isn't polite)
  7. sigh - 56 (well aren't we melodramatic...*sigh*...)
  8. grin - 56 (that's kinda creepy...)
  9. clench - 53 (that's not conducive to good dental health...assuming it's teeth they're clenching...)
  10. gaze - 51 (what is this? Harlequin?)

So, this informal study has revealed that I have been seriously mistreating some very emo foul-mouthed Parkinson's patients. Oh well, such is writing.


  1. 'Gaze' isn't so bad. It's the only alternative I can think of to saying things like, "His eyes were all over her."

    Which makes me think of eyeballs popping out of heads and moving of their own accord all over other people.

    My characters start off their sentences with "Well," or "So," a lot. Not my fault. I blame them.

    And they sigh a lot. Don't know where they get that from either.


  2. At clench I automatically went to but cheeks and not teeth.

    I can't help it though I like bums