Things I Like to Abuse

November 23, 2009

I love using: commas, that, well, so, had and other annoying useless bits.

So I love commas, so much so, that well, my manuscript is bleeding to death from the tiny slashes I put, well in my sentences.  I also, love useless words like that.  That, the word that is, explains everything.  I say “that” and you know what I’m talking about, right?  Apparently I love abusing other words like: well, so, had, seems, appeared, like and other fillers.

Would someone please free me from tyranny of useless words?

What do I do?  I write with them.  I have too.  But afterwards I do a find and search attack.  Like an ax welding barbarian I slice and dice (or maybe like a sous-chef.)    Anyway, that’s my hunk of nothing for today.  You got anything?

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  1. You're becoming aware of them, which is the first step. :) Next time you write something, you won't use them as often. And each time after that you'll use them less and less because you'll get a feel for how to write a sentence more powerfully without them. My first novel I wrote "that" and other useless words a buh-gillion times. I do it much less now (4 novels later). But there are still plenty of extra words I end up cutting. In the first draft of the novel I'm working on right now I used "gently" 51 times. Ugh. :)

  2. I can't believe that. That you do that so often with that. That makes me so mad. That shouldn't be allowed. I think that if that continues that is going to lead to that thing that is so not that what you want that to be.

    That said, I'm not such a fan of that.

  3. For me, it's '-'. I have loads of those dashes. Once I'm finished the first draft, it's something I'll look out for in my read throughs.

  4. Oh I overuse "then," it's ridiculous. When Wendy highlighted them all I laughed so hard!

  5. "A little" and "pretty." My characters nod a little. They feel a little sad. They look just a little tired. That's pretty much it--pretty well takes care of my main issues that are just a little annoying--pretty much.

    Recognizing them at least cuts down on your "find" hack and slash later. I catch myself on those. I still have to go back and remove "that"s because they're insidious. I also over-ellipses in my rough draft, but I figure that's what rough drafts are for.

  6. I love dashes. A lot. And sentence fragments.

    They're just so fun!

  7. I love commas as well. And dashes, too, which is kind of strange to a lot of people. And sentence fragments, especially ones beginning with conjunctions.

    My high school English teacher taught me all about how to use a comma. She said kids got bad habits from reading fiction, because, "Fiction writers just sneeze commas onto the page." Yes, she said sneeze.

  8. Oh man, I overuse too many things to list. My most annoying reused word is "definitely."

  9. I struggle with the same words. THAT is the biggest offender.

  10. I see we have a lot of abusers here today. Welcome.

    Yes Valerie, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I do find that I don't use them as much as I used to but...sometimes I find myself editing during one of my "conscious stream" moments and have to shut off my "internal grammar corrector"

    Matt, that is exactly that point. *giggle*

    Catherine, there’s not a cure but a pill you can take, called a beta reader.

    Gapy – Do you mind me calling you Gapy? I don’t do many dashes sounds like a lot of people cut you off-- in mid sentence-- not good. ;)

    Wendy – your pretty funny, a little. I guess. Guessing my characters do a lot of guessing too. Yes, by golly, that is why they call it a draft.

    Stephanie – I do a lot. Of short sentences. Sometimes too. Then I go back. And connect the dots. With commas.

    Yes Dominque. And I think we should over rule the powers that be and make conjunction starting sentences ok. But that will never happen.

    Natalie – Those ‘ly’ ending words will get you ever time.

    Mary – Once I counted my that’s. There were 21 offenders in one chapter. I deleted all but one. Phew.

  11. I don't know why but I feel the need to add that I abuse the following as well: my, just, and maybe.

    Also I abuse tags. I can't just say "he said" or "she asked." I have to say how he said it or how she asked it. Once I said, "She whispered loudly." LOL, really? Try it. GO ahead whisper loudly and see how ridiculous it is, no one ever whispers loudly unless they're making fun of someone.

  12. Yep, I use "that" a lot, and really, and so, and well, and commas, I'm in love with the hyphen and I use the semicolon more than I should. Make it two sentences right?

    I have walked, looked, leaned, and kneeled more than a character should... and others of that nature. *sigh* someday we will leave them out!

    Interesting post :)

  13. We need That Addicts Anonymous. I'll totally join up for the 12 step with you.

  14. Congratulations Gwoe, you just won The Maze Runner!

  15. Hey, if I haven't dropped off my email here before and you ever need to chat or want a beta...

    bug at sparrow dot us

    It's pretty easy to remember. (See... pretty slips into my blog posts too.)

  16. My useless word is actually more of a phrase... I say "To be honest" or "The fact is" LOL.

    It's a bad habit, but to be honest, I enjoy it :P


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