Mental Stuttering

I sent the draft for the sequel to Brush of Darkness to my new editor today. It’s amazing what a relief it is to finally know that it is DONE. Of course, I also sorta want to throw up.

How’s that for shit? As happy as I am on the one hand, there’s still that pitter-patter of doubt that continues to run in my mind. What if she hates it? What if it sucks? What if she wants me to rewrite 80% of the thing? What if, what if, what if.

And “done” is an operative word here. The story is finished, but it’s not quite there yet as far as polishing goes. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to tweak the story in places so that it makes sense – the one caveat to being a panster is that I occasionally stutter-start into part of a plot that never really happens. Part of what I need to do during revisions is either prune it or revamp it so that it becomes a part of the whole.

At any rate, I wrapped that up last night. Before I sent it off today, I copied and pasted the whole thing over at Wordle.Wordle takes the most used words of whatever text you throw into it and makes a picture. The more you use a word, the larger it is. From an art perspective, it’s kind of cool. You can change the angle and the colors and all of that and sometimes what you get is very poetic.

However, what does my picture tell me up there? Obviously Talivar is the new man of the hour, and that’s fine as far as Abby is concerned, but it also tells me I need to “back” the fuck up as to my overuse of the word “back.” (And just. And like. And eyes.)

So I did that. I didn’t actually count how many times I used the word “back” – and certainly some are legit. After all, backpack is a word and I can’t do much with that. But wow, there’s a lot of stuff going on with people’s backs. They’re leaning against walls a lot, for instance. Being patted on them. Backing up. Jerking back. Going back somewhere. And so on and so on.

Thirty minutes of doing the Find & Replace in Word not only enhanced my Wordle shot, but I also ended up chopping out entire sentences and reduced the word count of the doc by over 1000. (This is good, because it was over 107k as of last night.) >_<

I tend to use a lot of filler sentences when I’m writing. Lots of people nodding. Shaking their heads. Glancing over here. Gazing over there. (Looking at things seems to be a running theme.)

 And JUST. OMG. WTF is up with just? I’ve been guilty of using it more than once in a sentence – it’s in the dialogue AND the tag. Jeffe calls it mental stuttering. Like we’re trying to fill the silence of the story up with the written equivalent of “Um.”

Much of it isn’t needed and should be cut accordingly. Obviously I can’t eliminate all uses of the stutter words, but I can certainly do better.

At any rate, I’ve cleaned it up a bit and sent it off. I hesitate to polish it up too much – at least not until I get my first round of revisions back. After all, if I end up having to chop out massive chunks or rewrite entire chapters, it’s probably a better use of my time to wait until I’ve got something worth polishing.

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