Thursday, June 10, 2010

My word!

'All righty then.'

Whenever I hear someone use that expression I immediately think of V, my writer buddy and critique partner. He uses it a lot, so much, in fact, that I've been finding those annoying words sneaking out of my mouth during conversations, and I'm horrified every time. Those are not my words - they're V's! I despise that obnoxious 'y' at the end of 'right'. Why do we have to give it that campy little tail as if it weren't adequate on its own?

V is probably quite unaware that he sprinkles his speech with 'all rightys', just as I'm unaware that I sprinkle my writing with certain words. I usually get that problem sorted out during the editing phase, but even so, some of those crafty little fellers are so embedded in my subconscious that they fly under the radar and it takes my critique partner to zero in on them.

He noted that a character in my second book calls women 'baby' a lot. I have mixed feelings when men call me by this supposed endearment: on the one hand, there's a masculine protectiveness and appreciation of femininity that comes through, but infantilising women grates and grinds against the feminist in me and drowns out any covert whispers of appreciation. In my experience most men who sprinkle the 'b' word around tend to be players anyway, and they use it to create an immediate intimacy which I tend to resent. So why was my character laying on the 'baby' like that?

I figured it out: he appeared to be one of the good guys at the start, but turned out to be a sleazy, womanizing dude with all of the traits I ascribe to the men who call me 'baby'. V was right; there was overkill at work and I had some culling to do. Thank heavens for the 'find' feature in Word.

'Puh-leese' is another of my words. I say it, and my characters say it. At some point in the revision process, out it goes. Well, most of it anyway.

What are your under-the-radar words? And at what point do you smoke them out and send them packing?


Farrah Rochon said...

Oh, very good post, Liane. I had a character who said "babe" a lot, too.

My critique group is great at catching my overused words. They are usually character-specific, thus not one of my personal words that I like to use over and over again, but something that just seems like something that character would say. Thank goodness for revisions. :) It gives us a chance to catch all those pesky issues.

Chris Stovell said...

Loved this post and want to read about more the man who calls her baby! So true about not wanting to tip over into treating grown women like children.

Jewel Amethyst said...

My over-used word is actually. Right now, I'm so aware of it that I edit for that particular word.

Great post!

Liane Spicer said...

Farrah, I think it was E.B. White who said that all writing is rewriting - and it certainly is. (Thank heavens.)

Chris, I hope you do get to read the novel one day. That character is a piece of work.

Jewel, that's another of mine too! I'm forever deleting it and wondering how it slipped in there.