October 31, 2013

Pet words

Dear M,

Apparently every writer has a few pet words and phrases. I have been conscious of some of mine for a long time now, and at times spend time to remove them. But there are several that still evade my eyes.

In this article I came across recently, the first point speaks of the pet words of famous writers. Do read, there are other important points relevant to writing too.

I think my pet words (at least the ones I am conscious of) are 'some' and 'just'. I keep writing about something that someone just did somewhere and then somehow someone just found it out.

I remember when I read Ayn Rand, I noticed that her major characters often "threw their head back" when they sat - it gave us the right impression of the person and their attitude and their strength. This is an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged:

She sat at the window of the train, her head thrown back, one leg stretched across to the empty seat before her.

You can find this head throwing back in many places in the book. I wonder if Ayn Rand was conscious of her characters throwing their head back.

Apparently (and this is the second time I am using 'apparently') there is a way to spot your repeated words. The writer is the last person to know their own writing and they need tools to call them out. If you are using MS Word, it will help you. Here is the link that discusses a few methods to spot the culprits.

Having said that, there are some(eek! some?) writers who have used word repetition to bring an emphasis to their writing or the situation. I remember reading a similar repetition in Salman Rushdie's book, but cannot recall it now. There are many famous authors who have used it to good effect. It's again a case of knowing the rules and knowing how to break it.


Like this post on Facebook!

No comments :

Post a Comment