oh dear

Writing ticks of un-goodness

When I'm in line-edit mode prepping to publish/post/inflict a story on an unwitting world, I work extra-hard to catch a few writing problems I know I'm prone to.

• Word use-pairs. That is, a slightly unusual or otherwise attention-catching word used twice in succession. Separated by several sentences in a paragraph, usually.
• Overused basic building-block words: moment, realize, suddenly.
• Weasel adverbs not in dialog (and sometimes even there): very, rather, quite, and their milquetoast friends.
• Unusual words used more than one in the entire story, even widely separated. (For instance, in "Initiation" I stomped out one use of "forestall", because I thought the story could handle at most one instance of it.)
• A repeated dialog pattern: "Short phrase," he said. "Longer stretches of dialog follow that initial break."

There are other things that I don't consider errors on my part that I try to smooth over as I go. I mentioned a few of them in my earlier post about line editing.

Not that my Rupertus Domesticus story is in this stage yet. Sigh. Still struggling.
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I get really hypersensitive about many of those things when I'm editing my own work too. It's not fiction, but academic, but it's all writing. I remember when I was editing a 40 page monstrosity and traveled everywhere with the triple-spaced draft and a thesaurus.
I am suspicious of thesauri. There are cases where it's just better to re-use the same word. But paper-writing is a bit different from fiction-writing. Though yay! attention to detail! for all writing.
I have this horrible tendency to get stuck on a word, and then use it 5 times in one paragraph.

I'm also hypervigilent about the passive voice and excessive use of the "is" family. Not that passive voice isn't sometimes useful, but I don't use it unless there's a reason to do so.