An Interesting Editing Discovery

I'm almost halfway through the 3rd Edit of Air Pirates (as you can see on the sidebar, or you could if you also knew that there are 28 chapters). I always notice interesting things when I edit. For one thing, there are always more typos. I mean, what's up with that?

For another, I've discovered that there are certain words -- words I think are cool, or that make me love the story or the world -- that I use way more often than necessary. Pirates, airships, monks, names of ships, etc. I use them over and over again when, after the initial introduction, I could just say "men" or "ships" or "they." I think I just find the words so cool that I want to use them over and over again, not realizing of course that their coolness gets diluted with use.

Does anyone else do this?

8 comments:

Matthew Delman said...

I do it with phrases more often than individual words, but I know what you mean.

There's nothing wrong with using the cool words multiple times ... so long as it makes sense in the context of your tale.

L. T. Host said...

I am a serial repetitor.

See?! I need help!

Anne Lang Bundy said...

When you think it's ready for submission, make this your last edit: Print a hard copy, then read it out loud. You'll be amazed at what the eye sees on paper and the ear hears that are missed on a computer screen.

Deniz Bevan said...

Yes! I overuse the simplest things, and always have to catch them on editing rounds. "And then" "she realised" - all sorts of junk like that. I try to do writing exercise on changing up my phrases...

Adam Heine said...

Matt: True, but I find it multiple times in one paragraph: "The PIRATES attacked. Hagai tried to run from the PIRATES(!), but the PIRATESthiswordissocool had him surrounded."

L.T: We're not alone nor without others.

Anne: I'm actually reading this edit aloud, but I haven't tried printing it out yet. I think I fear the cost (sad, I know, if this is really my dream).

Deniz: I've got tons of those too. "He saw/heard" "He started walking" (gah, I hate seeing my characters start to do something when they could just be doing it!).

Hilabeans said...

I find verbs repeated in certain chapters. Serious pet peeve. I can completely relate.

hhs

Bane of Anubis said...

Adam, it's a tricky one. Yeah, we want to mix it up, but sometimes repetition is better for clarity. Another knife's edge to balance on, I guess.

Anica Lewis said...

It seems like one should be able to psychoanalyze the things a particular writer always does in the first draft. Editing as therapy.

My characters are always "rather" this or "almost" that. Fear of commitment, perhaps?

And I second the suggestion of reading out loud, even if you don't print the work. It's also phenomenally helpful for dialogue - you realize what phrases are, for example, inherently awkward to say. It's a wonderful help.