I'm in the midst of having my next book edited. Well, I use that term loosely. My editor waits for my revisions. She has done her part and now I need to do mine. I procrastinate not because I dread doing the revisions, okay, maybe a little. But the fact is she's found my 'crutch words.' The words I over-use when writing my draft. Most writers do this, it's nothing new. I knew what my 'crutch words' were before she began her process of editing. It didn't stop me from using them again, over and over.
When I edit another person's work, I find their 'crutch words.' Usually I smile, thinking I'm pretty good at this editing thing. By the fifth chapter I want to pull my hair out for discovering another nest of over-used words. I think, how could the writer NOT SEE THIS??????
I know the answer. My brain, and yours too if you're a writer, likes to keep going, staying in the flow of words to create a new page, a new chapter and finally a new book. Or rather ... a draft of a new book. The simple words splash across the page as I spin the plot, forming words on paper before the thoughts disappear or slide away. I'm not interested in exact descriptions at this point. That will come later in my revisions. If a big powerful word comes to me, I'm elated, if not, I use a simple word and keep going.
What I find humbling and humorous is my inability to see all my crutch words. I labor over my revisions, until finally, I think - there! That's what I meant all along. That descriptive word is so much better. I continue on, believing I've found all my crutch words. I let things rest awhile and attack it again a week or so later. I'm appalled at what I've missed. I revise again, and again. There! That should do it. I'm ready for an editor.
I'm sure I've found all the little mistakes. I'm pretty good with grammar, typos and such. But I still slide right over my crutch words. Somehow, I don't SEE them. It's a mystery to me. I'm looking for them and still don't find all of them. How can this possibly be?
So, you guessed it, my editor found several over-used words in my manuscript. LOOK seems to be a favorite of mine. My characters look up, look down, look all around. They look in, they look out, they look like fools looking all about!! One would think I would have noticed this foible. After all, I was LOOKING for them!
So, my point is, never, never, miss this needed step in your writing process. Let a professional edit your manuscript before you call it finished!
And if you're feeling brave today, share one of your crutch words with us!
Til next time ~