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I'm doing edits on 'Chasing Monsters' and it's getting quite a work out. While I am conscientious about using different words to describe things, (weapon, sword, blade, katana...) every novel I seem to find certain words I gravitate toward. And overuse.
I keep these words in mind in the first edits if I see them too often, and make a list. Then, when it comes to second edits and formatting the master copy, I check them off as I change them, or place an 'X' next to it if I kept it. I'm not finished yet, but here's some embarrassing totals.
Squeezed-19 found. Four kept.
Flutter-11 found. One kept.
Ached-22 found. Three kept.
Warmth-17 found. Four kept. (Hey, it's set in October. Heat is VERY important!)
There's more, but they're not as bad. Other favorite done-to-death words include, chill, blurred, roar, watch, gentle, followed, trepidation and the tired phrase "Poor so-and-so."
I know there's a program for this, but I'm old-fashioned and I trust this method. I've taken to leaving post-it tabs with the word on it in the pages for easy access, and the binding is breaking. At this rate, I'll be asking for a new synonym dictionary for Christmas. Just in case you didn't know...'synonym dictionary' is what you'll find if you look up the word 'Thesaurus' in a Thesaurus.