“He tilted his head to the side, pushed up from his chair and looked at me askance…”
No, it’s not a description of the man in my life contemplating some request I have just put to him, it’s three of the terms I over-use.
A quick find check of my latest manuscript revealed a lot of askance staring, too many push-ups from chairs and a surplus of head tilting. My vocabulary is shamefully limited at times.
This kind of over-use of words and terms is something a professional editor would pick up on, no doubt, but in the meantime I am relying on the ‘find’ facility in Word and an online thesaurus to come up with alternatives.
How often is repetitive anyway? If it’s an ‘askance’ every 10 pages or so, is that too much? Or does it demonstrate that my character is puzzling to others and they have a need to look at her, askance, frequently?! Maybe they should simply be puzzled from time to time.
Do you find yourself using certain phrases (particularly descriptive phrases) repetitively? Any advice for the remedy?
Pic thanks to Nic McPhee on flickr.
I’d like the same advice!
Hey Colton, I find if you leave the writing for a while and then come back to it you discover all your little peculiarities and writing ‘tics’ and then you can pick up on them. Sometimes, though, you think to yourself that you can’t bear to read the same page one more time… Happy writing!