I’m in the midst of copyediting a new release, and I just found about eight billion “just”s running through the manuscript. Not just that, but I also found plenty of “though”s. Yes, just when I thought I had all those “though”s and “just” extinguished, I’d click through the pages and find just about eighty billion more. Ah, but that’s okay, though. I’ve got ’em cut now.
Seriously, kidding aside, I am finding it to be one of my biggest pitfalls: When I’m drafting and concentrating solely on the story, the what-happens, I rely on far too many of the same phrasings and small words throughout. I don’t even see the repetition until I’m in the copyediting stage.
The funny thing is, once I start searching manuscripts for repeated words (or phrasings), I find tons of them. The search for “just”s becomes the search for “though”s becomes the search for “maybe”s…With this manuscript, I’ve actually spent a couple of days on nothing but searches for repetition.
It can be tedious and you can start to feel blind after a while, but in order to get rid of that repetition, you do wind up pushing yourself to replace it with more original phrasings.
I’m looking forward to reading this book tomorrow–you know, just to get a sense of flow. Even after all that, I might still find a few more repetitions, though.