Do you have an editing list, words you overuse, filler words, words that create passive constructions, or redundancy? I know I do. It seems no matter how vigilante I think I’m being while writing my story, always there are overused words. With one book it was pounding of heartbeats. Ha ha. Those poor characters were steps away from a heart attack due to irregular cardiac rhythm, and most likely from holding their breath.
I now have a list of bad words. Can words really be bad? I guess it’s all in the usage. Here they are:
Also, and, was, just, felt, very, more, really, looked, glanced, watched, laughed, pounded.
Then I have to search for the ups and downs: he sat down, she paced up and down. He needs to sit. She needs to pace. By sitting, the down is implied. By pacing, the back and forth or up and down movement is implied. What about started to, began to, which is, who is, in fact, actually, off of? Sigh. The list goes on.
I’m not sure if a productive writer ever reaches the level of a clean first draft.
I do think it can be achieved by writing and rewriting every sentence as the story progresses, but that story would be years, and years, in the making. I may be wrong, but I think rewriting as you go loses some of the essence, passion, and blood and guts of the story.
I’m sticking to my messy first drafts and focusing on improvements in the rewrite. How about you?