Say It Ain't So

So . . . . . . . . . .
So . . . I say so a lot. I'll be deep in thought while I fold laundry, do dishes, breathe, etc. My husband looks at me with a barely hidden smile and says, "You said 'so', again." 

It's because I had a thought forming into words and if I say, "So . . ." maybe the words will finally mesh together into something coherent. Alright fine, I said "So" five minutes ago and the rest of the words never actually made it past the broken Broca's area of my fizzy brain. My main squeeze tells me all the time that for someone who writes so many words, I sure have a hard time speaking. Oh yeah? Well . . . so?

Recently, I discovered my "So" problem had leaked all over my writing. The amazing folks at Eschler Editing pointed it out to me. (Yes, this is a plug for Eschler Editing!) I did a Find and Replace (Search and Destroy) on my whole manuscript using that s-word. Something amazing happened.

When I used the find function on "so", I turned up a whole  bunch of other overused words. Sound, for example. It's a horribly boring word! Think of all the smashing words you miss out on when you use the word "sound". 

Example: "She listened to the sound of the river." 


Post-search-and-destroy: "She listened to the gurgle/gush/babble/burble/roar/fill in the blank of the river."


"The sound of footsteps came from behind."


"The clipping/shuffling/pounding/tapping/padding/fill in the blank of footsteps came from behind."

Ahh. See how you know more about the owner of the footsteps now? "Sound" doesn't tell you anything interesting. I had no idea it was such a lame word!

Other boring words I found while doing a little SO searching: someone, something, somewhere, and some. 

I used these words when I was being lazy and didn't want to have to describe something my setting or characters. Lame. 

So, even if you don't overuse SO, it's a handy tool for other overused words. You can blast them all out of your manuscript in one fell swoop. 

As Weezer says, "Say it ain't so."