Sunday, February 19, 2012

HOW MANY WAYS TO SAY THE SAME THING?

My novel is finished!

Well, almost.

Now I am at my favorite part in the writing process. Editing content. And while I edit I am noticing a lot of "He looked, she looked, he walked, she walked, they walked, he turn . . . well you get the idea.

Even with my trusty Thesaurus it gets tedious to find different ways to say the same thing. So I read to see how other writers have their characters communicate or move about. I ask friends. I even asked people on my Facebook page. I must say, some waxed eloquently.

My question is this, is it better to try to find, as speakers at writer conferences often advise, a stronger verb even if it is convoluted or is it okay to have two "he looked" in the same chapter? Does it tire the reader to have: He gazed, he studied, he glimpsed, he squinted, he searched her face?  


Of course writers no longer have the luxury or the permission to have floating body parts as writers of the last century had. We cannot say he lowered his eyes to the floor, his eyes roamed the room, since his eyes are supposed to stay firmly ensconced in his eye socket.

So, what about you? How do you deal with the problem of saying the same thing in a different way?

2 comments:

Jan Morrill said...

I struggle with being creative with such verbs as looked, walked, saw, etc., etc. But, I also think sometimes we try too hard, and it shows in our prose. The challenge is finding that fine line and not crossing it.

Linda C. Apple said...

So true Jan. If we are not careful trying to use different words can make our writing feels stilted and convoluted.