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Writing crutches

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Mistresselysia, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Mistresselysia

    Mistresselysia Scribe

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    "She stood up and stepped forward, something, quite possibly panic, or maybe terror, coursing through her. She stepped again and glanced to the sky, glancing up at the stars, whilst glancing and looking. That feeling, panic or terror, coursed through her, and she stepped back this time, and glanced over to her companion, who glanced back to her and stepped back, too. Indeed, panic coursed through him, as well. 'Hell!' she thought. 'What the Hell is going on?', and glanced up to the sky again. And took another step, this time forwards, whilst her companion stepped back. 'Hell!' he thought, as fear coursed through him, threatening to suffocate him. "What the Hell is she playing at?'. So they stepped together, glanced at the sky together, and THEN GOT THROWN IN THE BLOODY BIN FOR BEING CRAP!!!"

    Oh, and don't forget 'ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing ing... standing, stepping, listening, running, jumping, kissing, fretting, glancing, panicking... bloody inging everywhere!

    Tee hee - okay, it's an exaggeration, but as you might have guessed, I've been identifying my crutch phrases - and that just about sums it up. Stepping, glancing, panicking, coursing and hell, uh, ing. So - anyone else got any crutch words or phrases that crop up everywhere in their writing? Willing to share any tips (apart from find and replace - done that!) to go into writing physiotherapy to get yourself off those crutches?
     
  2. I've killed off quite a few. I wrote with word perfect years ago, and it had a few nifty features that I haven't found in word. If you start a sentence with the same word too many times to close to each other, it would mention it, or if you repeated a word several times in the same sentence it would point that out too.

    Trying to think about the ones I've forced myself to stop using...and I can't remember half of them. The went from something I think about to something I just no longer do. The biggest one was the way I wrote. I had a program I wrote years ago that would count words and show totals of them all. I need to do a new one one of these years.
     
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    Every so often a word will pop up in my writing that I just can't seem to shake. Buzz words I guess you could call them. I can't think of any examples as its a different word or phrase each time it happens, but I notice it more often than not.

    I can't say I can think of any other "crutches" as you put it, I'm sure I have them though. Not knowing them kind of scares me. I'm currently on a Science fiction writing binge [in preperation for November of course] but when I write something fantasy enough for Mythic Scribes I'll post it up in the showcase and see if people can identify any nasty habits I don't know about that I've picked up.

    haha.
     
  4. Mistresselysia

    Mistresselysia Scribe

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    I think the scary thing about these crutches is how insidious they are - the only reason I noticed them is because I stuck my novel in a drawer (literally) for 6 months and then took it out to revise it with my 'right! Evil Editor Bitch is HERE!' head on, and I was quite frankly appalled at how many times I used these things - in the end, I had a different coloured highlighter for each crutch, and I found at least one example of each in any given chapter. If I hadn't highlighted them, I probably wouldn't have been quite so aware of them and might have been able to kid myself they weren't that much of a problem after all, but in highlighting them (rather like keeping a food diary when dieting), I couldn't kid myself - there it was, in black and white (And orange and blue and green and purple and pink and yellow...). It's quite disheartening, in a way... but good, 'cos I know I'll feel better when I've tackled them, and this allows me to do it properly :)
     
  5. RedRidingHood

    RedRidingHood Dreamer

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    For some reason I use the word "that" when it so doesn't need to be used. It's small, but for some reason when I'm writing out a draft, "that" is everywhere. I also tend to put in jokes and things that I find funny, knowing others will not. I've learned to edit those out, for the most part.
     
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    That is that word which I know that I need to quit using that keeps popping up, that has been mentioned in many items that I post. Thats all I can say about that. Got that?:D
     
  7. mythique890

    mythique890 Sage

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    Just. That's my worst one. "Just," "only." and "really" are problems in all my writing.

    I did have issues with lots of adverbs, but I've learned to watch out for those and get around them.

    When I'm writing a scene, there's a lot of "he turned," "she turned," "turning, she said," or "he turned his head." Lots of turning. Also I have a problem with eyes. "Their eyes met," "she met his gaze," "she looked at [whatever]," "he stared at her," "I looked into his eyes"... you get it. Also "[so-and-so] grinned." I usually find quite a bit of grinning when I go back and revise. And I have a problem with the word "utterly." I try to only use it once per novel, but I want to use it so much more.
     
  8. Gah. I have the exact same problems, except for "utterly." Everyone's always turning to eye one another while grinning. >_<

    I tend to overuse "but" and "though." A character will think of something, but then they'll think of something else that counters it.
     
  9. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    The thing about the use of eyes [not something I do, but stuff I noticed when giving feedback and such] is when they seem to become anthropomorphic, like "eyes roaming the room" or "running across her body"... I'm sorry but disembodied floating eyes are creepy ;) haha
     
  10. Digital_Fey

    Digital_Fey Troubadour

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    I tend to fall in love with a set of adjectives or metaphors and then have to stop myself from using them ad nauseaum - not through lack of vocabulary, but because I likes pretty words :p Another problem that trips me up is using the same sentence structure repeatedly, eg. "he sat on the wall, staring at the misty moon. Then he reached down for the can of soda on the sidewalk, emptying it in one swallow." Maybe not something people would notice immediately, but it makes me shudder when I go back and revise.
     
  11. Mistresselysia

    Mistresselysia Scribe

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    So many of these are very familiar - isn't it funny how you latch on to one thing, but don't really notice until later? My characters also raise one eyebrow a lot. Why? Because I can't, and I want to be able to do it. Sad, isn't it?!

    The problem with identifying these issues is that yep, that's good - I know they exist... now I have no excuse but to fix them. And I'm running out of things to fix them with without developing another set of crutches!!! :p
     
  12. Johnny Cosmo

    Johnny Cosmo Inkling

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    I've not noticed any major problems, though I might when I'm a little more experienced. I'm decent at catching them as I go, although that probably just means I worry too much in first drafts.
     
  13. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    I have a bunch of these. Naturally, I can't think of a single one just now. Usually, when I'm finishing up a story, I'll do "one last read-through," and the words and phrases will jump out at me. So I'll sit down and eradicate them one by one.
     
  14. I've noticed I have a few of these- and whenever I make a concerted effort to rid myself of one it is replaced by another :p I have a few that are specifically related to my rare posts on forums too; 'personally' and 'think' probably most prominent.
     
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