Thursday, May 13, 2010

Using "Find"

I was many chapters into "Nice Girls Don't Bite," thinking I was doing just swell, when I came upon that writing advice about amateurish verbs and word choices. I reviewed my writing. Yeeks! I wasn't doing well at all. I was up to my literary armpits in amateurishness. Thanks goodness for the "Find" function in my word processing software. Every new chapter, I have it search for "is, have, can, just, ly, ing, and" and "ould." That's not a typo. "Ould" gives me "could, would, should." When I have searched them out, I put them all in red, and then go back to the beginning and get rid of the red by re-writing better.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure I agree that all uses of those words are "amateurish". There's a reason that the words are common in the English Language--they're useful, and sometimes (usually) simpler is better.

    I do agree that those words tend to be overused, but I'm against completely eliminating them. After all, as the Knights Who Say Ni said, "You can't very well go through life without saying 'is', can you?"

    Still, I like your approach of highlighting them in red--at least then you're making a conscious decision to keep the original phrasing. It all comes down to a matter of taste.

    You might be interested in an article I wrote a while back on "Getting Rid of It":