Shannon Stacey

Left behind

By choice, though, I must say. I’m pretty shy with a very highly-developed inferiority complex and big-ass conferences like that are probably not my cup of tea. The only thing that makes me want to cry in my Wheaties is knowing that some of my friends will be there, hanging out, and I won’t be there. It would be nice to actually get to speak to Rae and Jaci and other friends in person someday.

Alison’s going to be doing a series of posts this week discussing Pat Holt’s Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do) essay, starting with Repeats.

Just about every writer unconsciously leans on a “crutch” word. (…) Crutch words are usually unremarkable. That’s why they slip under editorial radar – they’re not even worth repeating, but there you have it, pop, pop, pop, up they come. Readers, however, notice them, get irked by them and are eventually distracted by them, and down goes your book, never to be opened again.

Apparently my “crutch” words for Roadtrip were ass and behind. And I never knew it until it was pointed out by a fabulously brilliant reader who graciously did a during-edits read for me.

Neither the threat of bamboo shoots nor water torture could force me to confess how many times I used those two words—in the first thirty pages alone. He checks out her ass, she checks out his ass, he feels like an ass, she calls him an ass, she feels like an ass, and there are behinds everywhere. And, though the overuse never registered on my radar, it certainly stood out to the reader. (Of course, as I’ve already mentioned, she is fabulously brilliant.)

And when I did that word incident count thingy, then I felt like an ass. I think I used ass even more than I used just.

5 comments to “Left behind”

  1. Mel
      · July 27th, 2005 at 9:31 am · Link

    Oh sure, make mehave a :noevil: moment wondering :wtf: I have overused in my stuff. Nice way to feed the insecurities there, Shan…. Thanks.

    Tho if your hero really DID have a nice ass,I guess too much of that really isn’t a bad thing. *needing ass emoticon here*


  2. AngieW
      · July 27th, 2005 at 10:17 am · Link

    LMAO. I’d forgotten about that. And thank you, I love being described as fabulously brilliant :diva:

  3. Jaynie R
      · July 27th, 2005 at 9:31 pm · Link

    Thinking Angie will need a pin to pop her ego now :devil:

  4. PBW
      · July 28th, 2005 at 7:55 am · Link

    I must be channeling you when I think up blog spot headers, Shannon. :)

    My strangest crutch word was, is, and likely always will be DOOR. Doors pop up in every book I write, so often that I’m getting a real complex about them. I have no idea why I’m obsessed with them, either, but it’s the first word I do a search-and-destroy mission on when I’m finished a book.

  5. Shannon
      · July 28th, 2005 at 8:31 am · Link

    I actually did the thing posted in Alison’s comments on my first chapter, and “ass” and “behind” didn’t show up. There were several other words (*cough*and pronouns *cough*) which showed up a great deal, though.

    :rofl:, PBW. Let’s see if you channel the next one! :nod:

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