Now, with all of the flooding there are so many more places for mosquitoes to lay eggs and spread a swatting blight on all of the nature lovers who frequent the woods. Gross, huh?
Mosquitoes are pesky, but so are those pet words in our manuscript that we repeat over and over. They annoy the reader and take the focus away from our story like a mosquito on a fisherman.
Sometimes we don’t even know they are there until they distract our critique partners. It’s important to be purposeful about eliminating those pesky words.
How to eliminate our manuscript’s mosquitoes:
*Do an automatic search for the following words: that, was, go, going to, be, like, seem, finally, even, up, down, in, out, reach, almost, just, really, own, slightly, still, only and of. Replace many of them with other words. There are times these words are needed, but use them sparingly.
*Eliminate Telling Words. The words watched, saw, looked and gazed when linked with a description of what a Point of View Character sees in a scene are telling. Remove them and just describe what they see. It is a deeper point of view perspective.
*Critique Partner Reading. Ask our critique partners to read through a few scenes and highlight words that are repeated, or words they recognize that we use a lot. Add those to our search and replace efforts.
*Align Name Spellings. Double check your name spellings to make sure they are the same throughout your novel. Be careful with find and replace in bulk if the name letters might appear in words or you might create non-words throughout your manuscript.
*Eliminate Most Abbreviated Word Forms. In dialogue we often write things like gonna or have ta to try to sound more real, but that actually distracts the reader. Go to their original form for words. It is okay to have poor grammar words and sentence arrangement to make a character stand out, but avoid abbreviated word forms.
*Eliminate Overused Speaker Attributes. There is such a thing as too many speaker attributes in a book. Variation with action beats and internal thought follow up allows the writer to mix things up a bit. Brandilyn Collins has a great article on When To Use Speaker Attributes.
*Eliminate Adverbs. Adverbs or -ly words in your manuscript should be sparse if existent at all. They often weaken a verb or slow down the pacing of the page.
*Create A Personal Find And Replace Word List For Later. Each writer has some favorite bet words that they overuse. Create a list of the ones that you tend to overuse and be purposeful about replacing them.
What words annoy you when you are reading?