Catalyst - #1 in the 'Avenging Cat' series
It’s that time again. My next novel Cataclysm, #3 in the ‘Avenging Cat’ series, is completed, and the self-edit is ongoing, prior to it being vetted by Jennifer, my wife, before being sent to the publisher, Crooked Cat.
Part of that self-edit process involves tackling word-repetitions. Some are word-echoes, repetitions that occur more than once often in the same page, while others are simply examples of lazy writing that needs livening up.
The repetitions I’ve identified by using the Word search are shown below. I’ve started work on these; some have been reduced in number already (see brackets); be wary of replacing one repetition with another, however!
Smiled – 23 (9)
Nodded – 48 (18)
Laughed – 8 (this is good, I made a conscious effort while writing to avoid using this!) (3)
Grinned – 14 – (not bad, either) (6)
Sighed – 4 (again, I was on the look-out for this so they are few) (3)
Looked – 26 (22)
Moment – 37 (11)
Glanced – 40
Few – 40
Down – 58
Up – 145 (horrendous! Search entails a space in front of and after this word)
Out – 142 (same applies as above…)
Back – 72 (ditto)
Just – 36 (I tried to avoid using this word so much, will definitely excise most)
Called – 34
Saw – 19
Walked – 37
Ran – 32
Pointed – 22
Suddenly – 5 (not bad, but probably too many)
Seemed – 49
Felt – 52
Thought – 49
Though – 30 (I've noticed in other books that sometimes this is used when the writer meant 'thought')
Shrugged – 14 (again, while writing I tried to avoid using this, but it can still be reduced)
Stepped – 46 (surprised at this, but this number will get reduced)
Turned – 75 (far too many!)
Shook – 33
What’s the point of all this? Often, the repeated word (and its associated phrase) is redundant. And tidying up at this stage can improve the narrative flow.
The above list shows those words I’m familiar with in the repetition stakes; there may be others, of course, and hopefully they will come to light in the final re-read.