What’s your pet word?

There’s something about the passage of time that gives us perspective, not only on life, but should you happen to be a wordsmith, on your writing as well. Coming back to a manuscript after a break of several months is a unique experience, and one I approach with apprehension. Once committed to the process of revising, however, there’s nothing quite like it.

My last blog entry was focused on the importance of going through the revision process and finding exactly the right word or phrase. This week, as I revised Oranges and Lemons, I really began to appreciate the importance of cutting. I have a tendency towards wordiness, which is death to a mystery/thriller. A simple abundance of words wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also have a tendency to repeat certain words and phrases over and over again. Fortunately I’m getting better at spotting my shortcomings, and I now take great joy in getting rid of the excess.

Every writer has pet words and phrases.

Here are some of mine: it seemed; it was obvious; however –

And the hands down winner!!!   THAT

I could populate a small city with the number of THATs I use in a manuscript, at least three-quarters of them unnecessary. Once they’re gone, a much tighter piece of writing remains, and that’s a good start.

I would love to hear from other writers as to what your pet words are. Please leave a comment.

Leave a comment


  1. Lucy Ammerman

     /  November 12, 2011

    BUT is my pet word.

  2. Mine is, strangely enough, indeed! I have no idea why.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *