Saturday, August 4, 2012

Favorite Schmavorite

Sooo... I've been wanting to write this blog post for a WHILE now, but due to my lazy-ness (or rather, lack of blogging enthusiasm) as of late, I have not done so. 


But, dear readers, in an attempt to draw you back to the life of ME (haha), I've decided to finally buckle down and post another entry, just so that I can rant for a tad bit on something I've noticed lately... and I'll bet you're just dying to find out what it is, aren't you?

...[Its okay, you can lie to me]...

Heehee. ANYWAY, I've noticed, dear bibliophiles, that authors have a tenancy... wait for it:

Be redundant. 

Don't worry, its totally subtle, though. 

Because, of course, if pages were filled with redundancies, we--as bibliophiles--would all throw our books down, and stomp on them in outrage! (Or maybe not). Point is, I didn't even notice many of  these redundancies until I started LISTENING to audio books. Which--as a total side note--I resisted for the longest time, because it just wasn't ink and paper gosh darn it! 

But I finally caved. (Its amazing what a long commute to work will drive you to do!) 

And what I noticed from LISTENING to a book, rather than READING, is that authors totally use favoritism in their word choices. For example.... Brandon Sanderson? He loves the word petulant. Like, a LOT. Julie Kagawa? "Her blood turned cold" or "Her blood turned ice." Seriously, its all over the Immortal Rules. Nancy Drew? Novice. And then there is the word cacophony, which I'm beginning to loathe, because too many writers use it...  and my ears and eyes have been assaulted by this word so many times now, it's not even clever. Just irritating. 

Sometimes I wonder, though, if writers even REALIZE they're doing this...

I suspect not. 

I feel like its some kind of cardinal rule for Writing 101... the high law of the literary class: Don't be redundant! You'll bore your reader! You know, that kinda thing? 

Actually, now that I think about it, its probably a striving for creativity and uniqueness that actually draws writers to use these particular words in the first place! I can just see them typing away on their lap tops, mulling over the possible word choices for LOUD NOISES.... "Aha!"--they say--"I shall use CACOPHONY instead!" 

Doh! *slaps forehead*

Then again, who am I to judge? I probably have my own list of oober annoying words and phrases that drive my readers nuts-o. Words I habitually cling to in my moments of writer's block crises.

Like saying "oober" instead of "uber," which drives my ultra-Gernamny-inclined-Auntie absolutely batty. 


How about you, dear readers... Do YOU have any near-and-dear, overly-used favorite words?

P.s. Also, you should all read this book. Because it's fabulous:

A life-sucking, productivity-quashing, page turner? Yes. But fabulous all the same. 


kmckendry said...

I was just noticed one author likes to use skittered all the time. I seem to use the word but too many times, I'm not sure what others I overuse.

Julie said...

K: I wonder if the "ands" "buts" and "was-es" of the literary world aren't the problem... I think its overly used UNIQUE words that are the problem. Although, we should probably try to use them as sparingly as possible, it is obviously IMpossible to get around using some words, since they are so generic.

Rather, I think its the unique-ness and the fabulous-ness of a word that makes it stand out. I mean, cause really? You start to notice if the word CACOPHONY is used more than once... you just do... how can you not?!

An oh-so-fabulous literary agent recently said "Think about every word you use. Treat them like precious stones and place them carefully." I could probably work that one quote into an entire blog post!

Of course, then I'd be scared that I didn't think about every word of my blog post carefully enough ( : Haha.

But I think her point is spot on... we just need to be more careful about the words we use, and treat every one like a gem!

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annalisa Crawford said...

I tend to read my own work out loud, so I should (hopefully) pick up any overused phrases etc. But I've never actually listened to an audio book. I've also never used the word cacophony, but I really want to now :-D

Julie said...

Annalisa: you are wise. I should implement an out loud reading requirement for myself ( :

Although, if you use the word cacophony, I might have to de-friend your blog. Hehe.

Just kidding.

But seriously...

S. L. Hennessy said...

Yeah I wouldn't know anything about repetition. Not one thing.

Nod, nod, nod, nod, nodnodnodnod...


Julie said...

Bahahahaha! Oh how I love you, Lauren!! You, your nods, your bobbles, and the whole gang of head shakers!

Heather said...

I do! *sigh* But I've made it my mission to keep an eye out for them during editing and root them out. Words are more powerful when used in moderation.

Mandi said...

I've noticed that my favorite word is "that". Most of the time its an easy delete, but then I realized something. I write how I talk and I say "that" a buttload of times. Ugh!

*Strokes the delete key* <-- We are Biffles!

Sometimes I have a favorite word or saying that I picked up somewhere and it becomes the "Saying of the Month" and I repeat it ALL the time.

I still to this day say "I'd rather shove an ice pick in my eye than to ______." It gives what I'd rather NOT do a whole new meaning. LOL

At least you had a literary agent that was trying to help encourage you. Not squash your publishing dreams like some can. :(

Emily Gibbons said...

Terry Brooks really likes "He stared wordlessly..." There is so much wordless staring in his stuff it makes me wonder just how much people stare WITH words... :)

C D Meetens said...

Someone recommended to me a "cloud" - enter a story into something that generates one of these and the most used words then stare you in the face, courtesy of being the largest. Helped me no end when I started edits.