|Word Cloud made on the fabulous wordle.net|
Frankly, all this really shows is that I have ONE character called ROSEMARY and one called BEN, who LIKE to KNOW and THINK about SOMETHING a lot of the TIME. What it doesn't show is the effort I put in to reduce the frequency of the words JUST (success!) and LIKE (less success, but it used to be the biggest word by miles!) It also doesn't show my most grossly overused and hidiously abused word of all:
That is a very common word - hence why it is excluded from word cloud software. However, that doesn't mean it's OK to use it willy nilly as I do. Every time I go through my manuscript, I remove a handful of thats. Every. Time. A couple of weeks ago I did my final (ha ha!) edit and must have removed at least 30 of the offending thats. I was casually checking over just the first three chapters today - about 5700 words in all - and had to remove another four of the little blighters. I was thinking of posting about this anyway, when Derek mentioned to me that he struggles with thats as well. Anybody else find 'that' littering their work?
The general rule with that is to check if your sentence makes sense without it. If it does, leave it out! Here are some examples of innocent-looking sentences with rogue thats.
- I was sure that he'd think me very silly.
- If I didn't know that it was impossible, I'd have said that she was teasing me. (Twice in one sentence!)
- He said that he wanted to go to London.
Watch out for THAT, kids! He's and sneaky little thing... Which words clutter up your otherwise tight and beautifully-crafted prose?