I’m trying something new today — a blog hop run by Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW). For those new to my blog, yes, I’m a guy, and yes, I write romance. I’ve written for Silhouette, but these days I write science fiction with romance and humor.
The writing prompt for this week’s blog is Words that make me go Ick!
This is a hard challenge for me because really, it depends on context. I’d rather not read clinical descriptions of body parts, but if I ever decided to read 50 Shades they’d come with the territory. I’d definitely rather not read about blood and violence, but sometimes gory words are appropriate.
So I’m going to focus instead on little words that, if overused, bother the heck out of me.
- that — I know I used it in the previous sentence, but it can often be deleted without affecting clarity.
- it — Yeah, yeah, I just now used it, but ‘it’ can be vague and sometimes confusing if readers have to figure out what ‘it’ refers to. For example, change the previous sentence to “Yeah, yeah, I just now used the word twice…”
- of — Trimming words is always a good thing, so I search for ‘of’. If appropriate, I change the shriek of the warning klaxon to the warning klaxon’s shriek. Saves two words. Over the length of a book — sorry; make that a book’s length — two words here and there add up.
- very — ‘Very unique’ and ‘unique’ mean the same darned thing. Not only is ‘very’ redundant, it suggests the writer isn’t sure whether something is unique or not. And don’t get me started on ‘very, very unique’!
- really — ditto.
- just — ditto.
- about — Is the hero about six feet tall? If I want to imply the heroine is guessing, I’ll keep ‘about’ but otherwise it’s gone. A lot of times, deleting ‘about’ gets rid of wishy washy writing.
There are other ‘ick’ words, but these are some of the ones I search and destroy while editing my stories.
What are your ‘ick’ words?
Click here to view other writers in this blog hop.