2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)
What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.
Extra words, one of the many steps to the editing process. Sometimes it's trimming them, sometimes its adding them. Let's look at both.
In the case of a restricted work count, you may need to do some trimming to conform to guidelines. This happens most often with short stories...or novels that have inflated to 300K for no good reason. Don't laugh. It's a true story. Let's just say I'm really good at cutting words at this point in life.
You may have crutch words that can simply be cut because they serve no real purpose. Some common words to take a judgmental look at:
up/down - as in sitting down (sat), standing up (stood), etc.
Perhaps, upon reading your story for the twentieth pass, you come to the sudden realization that Chuck's enduring habit of hunching his shoulders when he's uncertain has gotten out of control and when you do a search for the word "hunch" it pops up thirty nine times. You might want to cut a few of those. Also a true story, though from a story I was reading for someone else.
As you skim over your words, you may begin to notice a few words or phrases that pop up and become distracting because you had them on the mind when writing and used them way more than necessary. Each story tends to have a couple of these. For example, I recently discovered that in one of my books, no one could just simply get out of a chair. They jumped out of them. Because: action!
What about adding words? Sometimes the story is sparse, and you may need to beef up description so you don't have talking heads in a void or your setting is all of two words, like "a bar". This is one of my problems. I got so used to cutting words, that sometimes I go too far and I have to rely on critique partners to tell me where my bare bones are exposed.
What words have you overused?
I'd love to visit your blog and see what you're up to with the A to Z Challenge. Please be sure to leave a link with your comment.