While I was giving my manuscript one last spit and polish for Pitch Madness, one of our team mentors suggested that we go through our drafts and identify and eliminate “crutch words”—words or phrases that we’d overuse without realizing it.
I made a list of the ones that kept showing up in my work. In no particular order, here they are:
- Eye-rolling (I realize my main characters are teenagers and excessive eye-rolling wouldn’t be that unusual, but it still struck me as overused.)
- Head-shaking (My characters rolled their eyes and shook their heads so often that they must have looked like they all had some weird nervous disorder.)
- “finally” (When my characters did or said things, they tended to be very final about it.)
- “I said” (There’s nothing wrong with this as a dialogue tag, but I tended to use it when there were only two people speaking and it really wasn’t necessary.)
- My main character could feel herself blushing or turning red an awful lot.
- “Actually” (That was the last one I caught and eliminated. I don’t know why I relied on it to such a ridiculous extent.)
Today has been odd because it’s been the first day in a couple of weeks that I wasn’t fixated on either Pitch Madness or #PitMad. I’ve sent out five queries for The Fire Before. One was for the request from Pitch Madness and a second one was requested via #PitMad yesterday. (Yay!) I sent out three more to agents who I thought might like my work. I think that’s enough for a first batch, because I need to see how my query is being received. If I get turned down by all the agents, chances are my query isn’t working and needs to be fine tuned before I resume querying.
And next month, I am doing Camp NaNoWriMo and editing the Draft Zero of my adult horror novel from last November. I’d love to get that beaten into querying shape as well.