There are words which have very little function in our language but we use them a lot – or at least I seem to. I just finished editing a manuscript of mine and discovered several I should not be allowed to use.
Well, so, then, now, are all words that I should ban from my writing. I seem to use them a lot in dialogue. I also don’t like to use contractions. When writing dialogue, it is easy to forget that we don’t talk as formally as we write. We also tend to not speak in full sentences. This means contractions, fragments, and all the things your teachers tell you not to do – you usually end up doing.
At one point, I looked at my edits and realized they were all words like “well, so, then, etc”. These are filler words really – like say “uh” when you are giving a speech. Of course I had to take them all out. I hope I got them all. I might have to do a search just to make sure.
The problem with having these words in there is they don’t sound like real conversation. Unless of course your person says “Soooo…” a lot.
As for contractions – in formal writing almost never use them. In dialogue though we all talk in contractions and not always the ones we commonly use like can’t or won’t. There are contractions like “Go get ’em” or “Whacha doin?” All of these are things I look at when I’m doing editing because my tendency is to write the more formal usage – “Go get them”. It isn’t wrong but it makes the character different from the person who would speak more casually.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve been given for writing dialogue is to read it out loud. People may think you are strange but it helps with the way you think a person will talk naturally.
When I’m done with a manuscript, I guess I’ll have to make a point of searching out these words I use repetitively. It is one very important step in my editing process when I’ve finished a manuscript.
It was good to go back to work. I got caught up on a lot of things. I also couldn’t stay the whole day as my foot was too sore.
Driving home was an adventure. I did okay so long as I didn’t have to brake too much. Hopefully it will be a bit better tomorrow.
Tonight I was hoping to just drop off to sleep but that wasn’t to be. I watched a tv show and then read a book. When those two things didn’t work I played on the Kindle Fire – backgammon, scrabble and skipbo. Still I can’t sleep.
Insomnia and I are old friends. Tonight my mind just won’t stop rambling around to different topics from the writing tasks I need to work on to crocheting I want to get done to so many other topics. Apparently there is no off switch to my brain.
If I thought getting up and working on something would help I would totally do that but I know it won’t. I just need to settle my mind and center my energy to balance out the chaos in my head. Once I do that I’ll have the peace I need to drift off to sleep.
I’ve taken Tylenol to help the gout and I’m writing this blog to help empty my head of words… I can only try these things to see if they actually help. I know the words will pile in again but maybe by writing this small bit they will give me enough peace so I can sleep.
If none of this makes sense – blame it on the insomnia…
Yesterday I worked on a formal project proposal. I surrounded myself with grammar books and word origins books. I looked on line for these types of books – not to borrow from the library but to add to my collection. I’m currently reading a grammar book – partly to refresh my memory but also because I’m enjoying it. I think it is official – I’m a word / grammar geek.
I finished my proposal and sent it off to my professor tonight. Hopefully he reads it and will allow me to do it. I have no idea if it is what he is looking for but I think it will be interesting.
In my linguistics class, I’m not doing well. There are a couple of concepts that I’m struggling with. I am not one to give up lightly so I’m reading articles on one of the topics which I’m hoping will clarify it for me. No, these weren’t assigned by the professor – I just don’t like not understanding.
I emailed my creative writing professor thinking the grade she gave me on my story was a bit low. Her response reminded me I’m good but I’m not perfect. I definitely learned a lot from the response and it helped me to clarify a few writing issues.
School is going okay despite my grumbling and frustration. I have to remember that I can think and do the things asked of me. It won’t necessarily be a cake walk. If I don’t like an assignment then I have to work harder to make it my own.
Ultimately the goal is to be the best damn writer and editor I can be. These classes and degree are going to help me along that path so long as I stay out of my own way.