I’m not a big fan of technology replacing my brain. I believe I should learn from my mistakes and not repeat them (this doesn’t always happen).
It was only when I began writing and editing the MS for my second book that I realised how often I transferred the words I use when speaking to writing.
For example when people are being a bit tedious I might say: “It seems alright”
And then there are those phrasal verbs (including – for pedants – “phrasal prepositional verbs”) used in everyday speech and which litter the MS with prepositions, become repetitive, and kill something – I’m not yet sure exactly what.
There’s also the problem of repeating the same word eg: I hardly knew him, I hardly ever go there, I had hardly started when…
I don’t mean that writing should be pretentious or fake, but extending and varying vocabulary isn’t such a bad idea.
I’m still getting used to writing tens of thousands of words in one text so I don’t always notice filter words when I edit.
An editor suggested I use a Wordle for my last book; I did and wondered what I was supposed to do next.
Last night, the penny dropped and I created a Wordle of the MS for my second book. I had no idea so many of my characters “nodded” just for the sake of breaking up dialogue, or that I used phrasal verbs with the preposition “back” so many times.
I think Wordles should be used after finishing the last major edit of an MS before giving it to an editor. I still haven’t finished mine, but in a few weeks I’ll be focusing on those unnecessary words which are repetitive and slow the pace of sentence.
I don’t want to hand over responsibility to the Wordle but if I delete unnecessary words in my own edits – instead of the copy editor deleting so many of them – I hope to develop better writing habits and in future won’t need to use one. Practise makes perfect.