Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Scribbles


I like to play search and destroy when editing. I write a list of the not-so-good words dominating my vocabulary, jot down the page number they show up in my manuscript, and reduce them to a reasonable number of appearances. It's sort of a game to me, making the process slightly more fun. But by about the fifteenth round and the thirtieth use of looked, I start to get a bit discouraged.

So, I'm working my way through these subtle demons, turn over the piece of notebook paper I've written my list on and find SOOBEDOO! written across the back in huge letters. I'm sure this is my daughter writing her admiration for Scooby, and how could she resist with a full-sized piece of paper and many colors of ink to choose from?


She does this all the time. I have my million and twelve sticky notes organized neatly in rows of what I need to do and what is coming up in my writing world where she likes to scrawl her name, draw hearts, and scribble right over my neatly categorized agenda.


When she comes up to talk to me, it's as if the pen is in her hand and moving over my organization without her consciously aware of the havoc she's wreaking, leaving a mass of illegible to do's in her wake. It's a bit maddening knowing I now have to guess as to what I wrote beneath her layers of ink trying to decipher the meaning and blog location.

But how can I get upset when SOOBEDOO! is there to remind me of my sweet darling girl and her uncanny ability to make me smile even though she frustrates me to no end?


She's a precious one!

Out of her reach, I have stuck three sticky notes to the top of my laptop screen. One is from my doodling daughter saying I LoVe You Mommy! written from top to bottom. One is from my son saying I Love my MOM! with eye balls drawn into the o's. And the other from my husband saying h, I love you, HR as if I'd forget who he was. The things we need to stay sane :)

I think I'll have to hang SOOBEDOO! behind my screen to remind myself to smile when I figure out I've used smile 36 times and just 82 times and that 497 times and eyes 111,111 times...


Do you have unnecessary words that repeatedly sneak into your writing? 
What tricks do you use to keep you sane through the editing process?

24 comments:

  1. This gave me a giggle this morning! Yes, I use the word "just" WAY too much, and so many other words that I am trying to destroy while I edit. It's a painful and boring process.

    Your little girl is beautiful!

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    1. Ah just, one of my most commonly used, unnecessary words :)

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  2. Just, still, had been, even, only, perhaps, maybe, actually, sometimes... Those words that tend to slip in and weaken my writing. I over-use these in conversation too, but I never have to read back through my speech and blush with shame!

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    1. I hear ya! I try to use them less when I'm speaking now though in hopes they will show up less in my writing :)

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  3. Fun post! I get ellipses happy... It's a serious problem... Not sure how to break the habit... That and em dashes. Must conquer the addiction! :D

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    1. Ellipses are so cool... Their name is even cooler... I like them too :)

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  4. I use a lot of "just" and "only". So happy my serenity editing software catches them:)

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    1. I wish I could just delete them from my vocabulary :)

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  5. I have a baby butt on my computer half the time when I write, so some of my more famous words are jdslakjfpoehkamsnvdlagndsolaksjdflkansflashfljasdflaskndfjjs

    I take that to mean he loves me... or he needs a diaper change :)

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    1. At least those ;alkdfjoienfd;lvjo;a show up easily enough to edit out ;)

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  6. I'm re-reading my WiP right now and am atonished by how often I use the word 'just.' It's crazy. I guess I just like it. ;)
    Your little girl is adorable. :) She looks just like you!

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    1. Thank you! After reading these comments, I feel a lot better that I'm not the only one who uses just way too much :)

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  7. My one year old has started closing my laptop - in the middle of me typing...that's my cue to take a brake. But when I do get back to typing,i'll find wonderful finger prints all over the screen...it's my love notes from her and they always make me smile. ;)

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    1. That's so sweet! Minus the shutting laptop :) I used to have finger prints on my full length mirror from when my kiddos were really little, sweet smudges :) I cleaned around them a long time :)

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  8. She's darling Hope! Seriously adorable! And I know what you mean about having everything you use to keep orderly, being scribbled on. It's a blessing and curse, right?

    But believe me.... I have tons and TONS of words that I need to use for search and destroy. Love your idea of making it a game. Brilliant!!!

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    1. Thanks Leigh! It will be sad the day her scribbles stop :)

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  9. Awww, your daughter IS precious. What beautiful eyes she has!

    I've bought my children their own notebooks from when the oldest was three. That way, they have their own place to write. The oldest has always gotten into having his own, and used to draw like a maniac. Now that he's learning to write, he comes up with amazing (to me) things. Those little love notes are treasures.

    As far the no-no words, I have a zillion, too. It is time-consuming, but you'll get all those little suckers! That's what I tell myself, anyway :)

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    1. Thank you Lara :) My son wanted to be an arthor (so cute, struggled saying author) for his second grade year. I was sad when it switched to basketball star. Hopefully it'll switch back.
      I keep telling myself that too! And hoping that when I start a new ms, fewer will show up :)

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  10. You know the best trick for editing? Chocolate :-)

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  11. I should have a jar of chocolate chips or something next to my computer :) That would make it so much better!

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  12. Just is one of mine. I love this story. So sweet. Kids can really be what we need sometimes. ;0)

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  13. Your daughter IS precious! I reuse words a lot, too. It takes editing my WiP three or four times before I catch them. Thank goodness for critters!

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  14. I'm terrible with the word Just. I always paste my WIP in Word-Cloud so I can see what words I use the most, really helps me prioritize. (and see those words that I didn't see before)

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  15. To reiterate - your daughter is adorable! And I can't wait until my son can write (or speak in complete sentences). I know there's all kinds of brilliance going on in there somewhere...

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