Thursday, June 16

A Giant List of Words

Since Lauren provided us with new vocabulary words and Wendy gave us a very inspiring quote, I thought I'd do my own twist on words and vocab week at TFC.

Besides, I already talked about one of my favorite quotes ever (something Angela Chase said on My So-Called Life) when I was reflecting on the hoopla that Wall Street Journal article about contemporary YA being too dark for teens. You can read the My So-Called Life quote and see how I used it to respond to the hoopla here on my personal blog if you like.

And when it comes to vocabulary, I'm kind of braindead right now and I'm about to show you why. A few weeks ago, I finished revisions on the book I've been working on for the past year or so. I don't know what other writers do, but for me one of the final stages of revising is noting down words/images/phrases that I think I may have overused as I do a read through my book. The I use the Find function on word to look for these words and see if I really did use them to much and if so I try to find a better way to rephrase or replace them. That's when I break out my word bible:

It's an excellent tool, but you have to be a bit wary or you will start inserting words that your character would never use or getting out of control with flowery language that your editor will later mark, "PURPLE! Rephrase!" Yeah, that has definitely happened to me.

Anyway here is my list of words/phrases/images I was worried about overusing in the draft of the book I just finished (just click to enlarge it):

Yep, as the blog title indicates, that is a GIANT list of words. Fortunately they weren't all as overused as I thought they were and as you can see some are synonyms so if they were sprinkled through out, I was okay with it. I did however have a lot of "insisting" and "demanding" going on, so I will share with you the list of alternatives I made from my handy synonym finder:
  • Importune
  • Entreat
  • Mandate
  • Command
  • Urge
  • Maintain
  • Assert
  • Exhort
  • Admonish
  • Implore

Some are more normal sounding than others and I did use those. I was excited about admonish, which I felt I could safely use and I think might I have used entreat as well, but although I really loved exhort, I wasn't so sure I could get away with it.

I really love the Synonym Finder though. Are there any other word geeks out there who think thesauruses are fun? What about those of you who write, what are your methods for handling those overused words?


Wendy Toliver said...

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is to go thru a semi-decent draft and start thinking of fresh ways to say the same thing, and yes, Mr. Thesaurus is my friend. Sometimes I find a word that works better and sometimes I stick with my initial word, but either way, I enjoy the process.

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Glad I'm not alone in enjoying that process, Wendy!

Melissa Walker said...

I love that your editor marks "Purple!"

And I agree--love the phrase editing (also it means the plot is in place and structure is good and I'm close to done, always a good thing).

Teen Fiction Centre said...

Hey I'm a new blogger and I'm setting up a Teen Fiction reviews/recommendations blog called
Teen Fiction Centre. There isn't much on there yet but I'm going to get it up and running as soon as possible.

As well as reviews I'll be looking to do some Teen/Young Adult author interviews, and I wondered if you'd be interested?

Please get back to me either way, Thanks!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Melissa, Yes it frustrated me at first when she did that because I didn't understand, but once I did it became more amusing. And yes, once you get to the word and phrase editing it's such a feel-good phase of the book, it's fun.

Teen Centre, I am not sure if this was address to me particularly or the other authors here, but if you wish to interview me, send an email to stephanie(at)stephaniekuehnert (dot)com
(not spelling out at or dot of course)

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