Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cliches and crutches

While completing my book on omnitopia I decided to conduct searches through each chapter, hunting for words that laden my writing with laziness. I have noted my tendency to rely upon certain favorites -- examples: continuum, environment, encounter, experience, explore, particularly, phenomenon, recognize, singular, seemingly, vast -- when I allow myself to drift into an almost unconscious flow.

How depressing it was to find the word "explore" 25 times in a single chapter! Fortunately this kind of search helps me rethink ideas that may have "flowed" with inadequate precision. Reading a draft, spotting that comforting word, I tend to presume "all is well" and continue without careful consideration. Choosing instead to identify my crutches I unearth phrases that need tending or pruning. Sometimes entire clauses reveal themselves to be useless or meaningless.

Click. They're gone.

Searching for clichés and crutches is a real hassle, but it provides some confidence that this manuscript is nearing completion at last.

2 comments:

detroit dog said...

Interesting. My most repeated word is "Additionally". Fortunately, I have an ongoing love affair with a thesaurus. Sorry if I missed it earlier - who is your publisher?

Andrew Wood said...

Publisher is Hampton Press.