Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Just, That, Really?

One of my critique partners mentioned that I use the word 'just' too many times. So I did a scan on my 71,500 word manuscript and had to raise my brows. I had no idea! I used the word 'just' 268 times. Good grief! 

I did a control F and reviewed each instance and whittled all the 'justs' down to 152 occurrences.

I found this article on other words to be wary of: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/five-words-you-can-cut/ and discovered that I abuse the word 'that', too!

With over 600 cases of ‘that’ in my manuscript, I started down the long slog of reviewing each instance. After the first 100 or so, I questioned whether my usage was so awful. Some 'thats' flowed naturally and sounded good to me when I read it out loud. So, I did a little search and found an article by Grammar Girl that made sense:

So, I’ve decided to stop stressing. Each 'that' is worth reviewing, some need to be changed into stronger sentences, some are part of my voice and style and some work grammatically. To eliminate and avoid words doesn't make sense, but to evaluate them? Definitely! This was a good lesson for me, because now those two words stand out every time I use them. 

Along this same grain, is punctuation. Apparently, I abuse the ellipses and the m-dash, too.


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