Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Word Frequency

photo courtesy of Feuillu

I'm somewhat of a word hoarder. I find a word I like to use and latch on to it. A few of my favorites are: well, so, maybe, finally, little, and very. Recently some rogues have slipped in like: decided, some, clearly, eye (don't ask) and shrugged.

To combat my
little problem, I have a list of words that all too often pepper my writing. I try not to use them, but my hands and brain don't always work in sync. Did I say I'm a techno-phobe when it comes to the computer? In the past, I have always performed a "find" and "search" and rooted out the evils doers. It takes for stinking ever to do that.

But, aha, last night I found a macro that will do it for me. One swift click of a button and all the "wells" are rounded up and highlighted in red. Makes it much easier for me to go back through and slay the ones I don't want to keep and bypass the ones that get to stay.

I can tweak the macro to change the word or color. I'm in love...

How about you? Doyou have any words that sneak into your writing? Do you let them slide and pick them out in editing or do you kill them right away?


K9friend said...

What a cool computer application! I need to explore my computer a bit more...who knows what is lurking there!
My over-used words: too many to list.

Writer Chick said...

If you have WORD, I'll be glad to send you the code. It's really pretty easy, considering I'm such a goof when it comes to computer stuff

Thomas K Carpenter said...

I don't have my overused word list handy since I'm at work (on lunch break!),but I'll throw out a few of mine worst ones:

for a moment

I have a full page of others but these seem to be the ones I fight on a continious basis. The battle continues!

Writer Chick said...


Those are many of the ones that trip me up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your trick of the trade! I have found a great book, Edit Yourself by Bruce Ross-Larson, and it has a list of words and phrases that editors cut or change. When my interior voice warns me that I might be using a needless word, such as "actually", I look it up.

By the way, the book says to cut "actually."

Mary Ingmire said...

My words are as, seems, as if, but. I'm also technically illiterate and would like information on how to set up the macro. It sounds good.

Cindy said...

As K9 said what a cool application! What is a macro? I have no idea but I have microsoft office word.

I have LOTS of words I overuse--they haunt me especially in emails: great, I 'love' this I 'love' that, I 'love' everything--and I'm not talking about my closing the email!!!

My manuscripts are peppered with character's names--my critique group 'reminds' me of that all the time. And I 'love' to begin sentences with "and"...there are so many more. Found a great site to check which gives one a gazillion choices for some of the most common overused verbs. I "LOVE" it

Writer Chick said...


I love, love, love that website. Really! I bookmarked it.
A macro is a short cut way to do something. Like "Ctrl C" is the short cut way to copy and "Ctrl V" is the short cut way to paste in WORD. So I have a macro that I can change around and that will "look" for the words I typically overuse and highlight them in red--with one click. Used to I did a search and find and highlighted them myself. It took forever. This is quicker and you can do a 200 words manuscript in seconds.

When I get my head on straight I'll send you the directions on how to set up the macro. It's easy, greasy.

Thanks for the book title. I'll check it out.