Crutch words – WENT (part 2)

You didn’t think I forgot part 2 for this crutch word, did you? In case you missed part 1 you can find it here.

When we draft our stories, we want to get them out as fast as possible. Which tends to make things sloppy and messy. Non-writers, don’t get us wrong. It’s a need all writers have; get the story out of our heads immediately. Unfortunately, this comes at a price.

Crutch words.

When we finish our first draft, we haven’t exactly “written” anything. Technically, we have, but practically, well… it’s not readable. When we draft a story, what we’re really doing is putting our thoughts down. Writing comes after we’re finished with the first draft. That’s when we have to turn our drafts into something that won’t hurt the eyes (or the minds) of our readers. Part of this process involves removing crutch words.

One such crutch word is the past tense of the verb go (went). We love using it (and other crutch words), because it’s always available and it does the job. The thing is, readers want more than a word that just does the job. The problem with went is that it’s not descriptive enough. And so, we have a huge list of synonyms to consider. Below, is a small list of some of the available synonyms for WENT. Keep in mind that every synonym has a meaning of its own, so make sure you use the right word. And yes, I know there are more synonyms available. I will cover those in future posts.

 

Crutch words – WENT (part 1)

When drafting a story, a book, or a poem, we tend to use words that will easily allow us to convey what we have in mind. They help us get the words out fast. It makes sense; it’s a draft, meant only for the writer and only until revisions and edits start. Past that stage, it’s best (for our readers’ sake) to change these words in favour of better and more descriptive ones.

WENT is a word writers like to use often, but one that doesn’t paint a nice picture for the reader. Below are some alternative words you can use. Keep in mind, the list of synonyms for WENT is much bigger, and I will come back to it at a later time with more words. As always, please make sure you use the right replacement at the right moment for best results. Each synonym has a meaning of its own.

 

 

Also, I changed the blog’s front page a bit. It took me hours to get the image mapping to work and to figure out how to fix the html code (I’m soooooo incompatible with such things), but I think the result is better than the old one. The question is, do you like it?

Crutch words – Smile/Laugh

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about crutch words and I focused on the word LOOK. Of course, look isn’t the only crutch word writers use. SMILE and LAUGH are two similar words. Keep in mind that the words I include below are not the only ones, but they tend to be used more often than others. Also, some of them are the product of onomatopoeia (Greek word, meaning to create names), and as such they describe a sound. As I mentioned in that earlier post, make sure you understand what each word means before you use them.

Crutch words

Nearly every human being (if not all) have expressions and words we like to use more often than others. We either use them from habit, or because we can’t remember a synonym, or because we don’t know any other synonym. When we talk to people, the listener’s mind doesn’t always pick up on those repetitions, and if it does, it focuses on the meaning of the sentence as a whole rather than that any of the words we keep repeating.

That’s not the case with written words. The ancient Romans used to say, Scripta Manent, which loosely means the written word endures. The full saying was, verba volant, scripta manent, meaning words are volatile, the written words endure. And they were right in more than one levels. For instance, when we read something, it’s easier to pick up repetitions. I’m not sure why that is, maybe because our eyes can pick up patterns, or perhaps  our minds work differently when we read something instead of saying it. We, as writers, owe it to our readers to present them with the best and most descriptive of our work we can possibly create.

One way of achieving this is by realising we’re using crutch / repetitive words, and do our best to come up with a synonym that is more descriptive and conveys the same message in a better way.

One such word is LOOK, when used as a verb meaning to examine visually. Below is a small list of synonyms you can use instead of look. Now, before you use them, make sure you understand the inherent meaning of each word, since synonym to a word doesn’t necessarily mean equivalent. Also keep in mind that some of those words are also considered filter words, and may cause problems with telling instead of showing. Use your judgement.

Keep in mind that I focused on the synonyms for look that mean to examine visually and none of its other meanings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small horror (?) story

Let me start by wishing Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates it!! I know it’s in two days time, but since I only post here every Sunday, it’s now or never.

This past week was one of the few ones where, despite the work, I felt energetic. Probably because there wasn’t too much work to do at the office. In other words, I had enough time to write and play around with Photoshop. Those of you who follow me on Facebook (the personal profile or my author’s page) may have seen some of the pictures I uploaded.

So last Thursday, I took the day off from work to write, edit, and work on other things. Boy, that was fun!

There I was, eager to unleash my creativity, my fingers itching to dance on the keyboard, and… my PC died.

What I mean by that is, it got caught in an endless boot-loop. If you’ve never encountered it (lucky you!), a boot-loop in short, and as I understand it, is a state where the computer fails to load the operating system and is forced to restart, until it reaches the same point of previous failure, and on and on it goes. You don’t need me to tell you it’s scary. In my case, it was scarier because I couldn’t start my computer into Safe Mode (an operating mode where only the most basic computer functions are loaded, which allows the user to remove any programme or anything else that causes the computer into a boot-loop or other scary stuff). I was also unable to go back to a previous stable state. To make things worse, the repair function the Windows CD provides also didn’t work. In other words, I had no way of accessing anything into my system.

The last time something like this happened was about fifteen years ago. Back then, I knew almost nothing of computers (not that I know a lot of things now, but certainly more than then). When it happened, I lost everything because I had to format my hard drives. By everything I mean mostly viruses, since I didn’t even know what an antivirus was. Fifteen years ago, I decided I was going to reserve a small partition in my hard drive where, when the time came, I would be able to install a fresh copy of Windows (without messing with the older version) and access my files locked in the older copy of the operating system. Fifteen years ago! That’s a long time. I almost forgot I had it. I had never used it, and sometimes, when I ran out of space on my hard disks, I questioned my decision. Until last Thursday.

To make a long and boring story short, thanks to this post I managed to fix the problem. And the problem was the registry. Of course, by the time I found this article, I had wasted most of the day, which resulted in me not working enough on things I was supposed to work. But at least, my ancient computer is alive and hopefully will remain so until I buy a new one.

The moral of all this is: make sure you keep updated backups, or use a restore point in your computer, and of course don’t give up and don’t panic.

You may think that this is completely unrelated to writing, but I urge you to read the previous sentence again. You never know when a fatal digital error will take away a manuscript you’ve been working on for years.

And that was my horror story for this year. Hopefully…