Edit Your Writing Warts

Both my older boys spent some time in the doctor’s office this afternoon getting warts removed.  When their fingers had been sufficiently frozen, the doctor let Middle Son dump the liquid nitrogen onto the office floor.

It spilled from the container and hit the carpet like a tiny bomb, radiating out in concentric circles of frozen fog.  They little boys were impressed–as was I.  It was like a mini magic show.

Sometimes I wish I could liquid nitrogen my writing warts.

A drop onto “that” and a squirt over “nodded”, “grinned” and “shrugged.”

Make no mistake, my writing has plenty of warts.

Does yours?  What words or phrases infect your manuscript and how do you go about erradicating them from your manuscript?

12 responses to “Edit Your Writing Warts

  1. I have a tendency to be repetitive in my writing without realizing it, and it usually takes me reading it out loud in order to catch the rhythms and word orders that don’t make sense.

    • Reading outloud is the best tool I’ve found to hunt down those stinker words and phrases. Great tip! And repetition can be a killer. It’s so easy to fall back on. Certain words and phrases are like comfort foods to the busy mom. You know you can whip that hot dish up in ten minutes and let it simmer for 15. It becomes a staple!

      Best luck editing your warts!

  2. Ha, I’ve begun to recognize some of my own warty phrases when my freelance jobs “fail” the Copyscape test and I realize they’ve just gone up against some other piece of my own writing that’s already “live” on the web… Clearly I have some go-to phrasing that has been getting over-used! 😉

  3. I have trouble with who and whom, that and which, lie and lay. I had a big ol wart removed from my elbow when I was a kid. I still remember it, and I still have the scar.

    • Yvonne, back then they didn’t remove them kindly. They used to burn them. Now they freeze them. Easy peasy. Well, unless you’re the kid with the warts.

      I try never to use lie and lay for that reason. My big issue is certain prepositions. Sounds dumb, but I find myself getting turned around with them more often than not on the rough drafts. I could haggle over them for days sometimes.

      This English language is a might confusing!

  4. My work is full of warts, unfortunately. I’m looking for a manuscript doctor, wart remover or some great concealer.

  5. I just wish those word warts were as easy to remove. We just don’t seem to realize they’re there until someone notices and nudges our elbow, and says, “Just take a few of those out, will you? They’re just so annoying.”

    • Hear, hear!

      It is easy to become oblivious to our pet words. I think that’s why it’s as important for us to critique as be critiqued. Once we figure out what annoys us as readers, we are less likely to inject that annoyance into our own stories.

      Great point!

  6. Actually, “find” is my friend. I actually use it a lot. Almost every day, actually. LOL

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