The good folks over at the institute of We Have Too Much Time On Our Hands have done a study on word usage. Specifically which words we use the most in the English language. The number one word is no surprise–I’ve already used it four times in this blog–it’s the ever popular, totally unassuming, cute as a button: THE.
But the second word may surprise those of you who aren’t writers. As for we writers–yeah, we know it’s number two on the list, we’re always trying to pull this pesky fellow out of our prose. It’s sort of a weed word. It pops up when you’re not looking. It has already shown up seven times in this blog and will assuradly score much higher than that before I’m done typing. (*Ping* Now we’re up to ten times.)
It’s the ever present To Be verb with all of its tag-along little brothers: is, was, are, am, and were. I just went through my manuscript and plucked quite a few off the pages. But never fear all you Hamlet lovers (To be or not to be) there are still plenty to go around.
I also have to go through pulling out THATs and JUSTs. I sprinkle JUSTs through my stories like they were chocolate chips. This time I also noticed a lot of gazes. As in: His gaze ran over me. His gaze zeroed in on me. His gaze flickered to my eyes.
His gaze obvioulsy is very busy and athletic to boot (running, zeroing, flickering–it makes me tired just to think about it.) His gaze most likely does pushups in its spare time.
Oh well, it’s on to the next draft.