A.C.’s Journal: Entry 15 – Catching My “Write-isms”

Having surpassed 2.5 million words in the Freelan series of WIPs, and adding even more in a collection of short stories as well as in a book of fantasy stories underway, I have begun noticing certain “write-isms” (not sure what else to call them). These are words and phrases that I seem to use habitually – a bit of wordiness that I am slowly catching and fixing.

One such word-ism is “a bit,” as in “I feel a bit tired” instead of “I feel a little tired” or “I feel rather tired.” In fact, “a bit” appears 217 times in the first book in the Freelan series (Hammil Valley Rising). Since I’m in the process of what I hoped would be a final read-thru, I’ll hunt them all down and change most, if not all, of them (thank goodness for the Find feature in MS Word).

There are others I catch here and there, such as “for awhile” which should either be “awhile” or “for a while” or something else such as “for an hour or so,” depending on the context. The tough job is recognizing them. They have become second nature in my writing. Sigh. Even Word’s grammar checker doesn’t pop them all up.

Hope you can catch your “write-isms” – those pat phrases and words that you use by habit. They are good at hiding in plain site, so fuel your brain with some nice hot tea and pumpkin pie.

Happy hunting!

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A.C.’s Journal: Entry 10

Writers tend to have favorite words. Here are some of mine:

  • Mettle — noun – 1. The quality of a person’s disposition or temperament. 2. A person’s spirit or courage. 3. The natural vigour or spirit of an animal, esp. a horse.
    adjective – 1. Of spirited temperament. 2. having a temperament of a specified kind.
  • Comfy — adjective – comfortable.
  • Salacious — adjective – 1. Lustful, lecherous; erotic, lewd. 2. Tending to provoke lust.
  • Acquiesce — verb – 1. Remain at rest or in a quiet subjection; rest satisfied. 2. Agree, esp. tacitly; concur (in); raise no objections (to). And acquiescence (noun) and acquiescent (adjective, noun).
  • Dissipate — verb – 1. Drive or cause to go in different directions; disperse (what has been concentrated). Formerly, spread out (troops). 2. Cause (an abstract thing) to disappear; esp. dispel (a feeling etc.) from the mind. 3. Reduce to dust, smoke, or impalpable form; destroy completely (material or abstract things). 4. Cause to disappear into the atmosphere; disperse (vapour, a cloud, etc.); (of an electrical device) lose (heat), convert (energy) into heat that is lost. 5. Consume wastefully, squander (money, resources, etc.). 6. Divide (attention, mental activity, etc.) between a variety of objects.
  • Ponder — verb – 1. Estimate; judge the worth of, appraise. 2. Ascertain the weight of; weigh. 3. Weight (a matter, words, etc.) mentally, consider carefully, think over. 4. Think deeply, reflect.
  • Loquacious — adjective – 1. Given to much talking; talkative. 2. Of birds, water, etc.: chattering, babbling.
  • Blustery — adjective – stormy, windy; noisily self-assertive.
  • Cynical — adjective – 1. Resembling or characteristic of the Cynic philosophers; distrustful or incredulous of human goodness and sincerity; skeptical and mocking. 2. Of dogs, canine.

(All definitions are from my 2-volume Oxford English Dictionary.)

What are your favorite words? Post a comment and let me know. Thanks for reading.