Friday, May 28, 2010

Qualifier Chucking Party


I am a perpetrator of qualifier overusage. Have you leaned on these guys lately in your writing?

sort of
maybe
very
rather
kind of
seem
quite
totally
definitely
many
somewhat
quite
a bit
pretty
a little

Qualifiers are like the "ummm" of writing. They're comforting and it's easy to lean on them, especially in first drafts. They can be a clearing-your-throat type of thing, too.

I'm trying to chuck the particularly useless ones out of my writing. And what will I do with them? Why, recycle them into the most annoying paragraph ever, of course.

I'm sort of thinking I maybe should stop using some very overused qualifiers. It's rather silly, kind of dumb, I guess, because I seem to need them, and they're quite handy. It's totally a crutch, a definitely stinky security blanket of sorts, in so many ways. I'm somewhat wierded out, though, by the quite distinct feeling that I'm wanting to slap myself a bit. You know, a pretty hard slap, because a little more of this is GOING TO DRIVE ME FREAKIN' MAD.

See?

That was annoying. Anywho, in honor of Memorial Day, and so I can recover from that headache-inducing paragraph, I'll be skipping Monday's post. See y'all next Wednesday!

68 comments:

Ted Cross said...

That was sorta neat...kinda.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You sound like a Valley Girl!

And I have a surprise for those of you who hope to have a book in the iBookstore one day.

Candyland said...

I have a problem with those too. They're so easy to overlook.

Vicki Rocho said...

Okay, I was feeling a little smug thinking "I don't do this". HA! Then I read your paragraph and my self-satisfied smirk disappeared.

Dang it.

So, open for discussion--when does this sort of thing cease to be part of the the character's voice and become a problem? Is it like salt? A little bit goes a long way?

MeganRebekah said...

Sigh. You see, the problem is I love qualifiers. But I know they aren't the best way to show off my writing. Yet I continue to use them on a regular basis.

Slamdunk said...

I am a qualifier groupie--need to change my ways.

Giles said...

Thanks, now when I read through my book that's all I'm going to see :P j/k :D

I love qualifiers...when they're used well.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I have qualifiers but I use some of them for purpose of voice. But when I use them, for the most part, it's conscious. At least I hope it is.


Have a great long weekend!

Matthew Rush said...

My that was sort of a little bit humorous. Actually it was hilarious! And a great point too.

I do use these kind of qualifiers occasionally (okay maybe more) and I think it's important to realize that they are not necessarily so terrible that they must be completely eliminated, but if allowed to be used too much they definitely can weaken the writing.

Thanks for sharing Lydia!

Today's guest blogger is THE Elana Johnson!

Janet Johnson said...

Very, very funny. ;)

Fun post! I have to edit these all back out. And I still seem to find them lurking in my writing. See?

DL Hammons said...

My can runneth over!!! I'm bad about using qualifiers as well. :(

BTW...I received my gift certificate yesterday. Thank you again...and for the kind note. :)

Have a GREAT (and safe) holiday weekend!

Joanne said...

They do have an effective way of actually weakening the writing. Passages read so much stronger without them. Enjoy your weekend!

KarenG said...

That's a good list. Or a bad list. Yes, those words are death to a ms.

JustineDell said...

Ah...yes...guilty. I try to take them out during the editing stage, but some things are easily missed.

The search and delete function helps wonders!

Have a wonderful holiday!

~JD

Solvang Sherrie said...

Okay, but I totally use these words quite a bit. I mean, they seem pretty innocent to me. Okay, maybe all the time. I definitely can't live without them!

Christine Fonseca said...

Love this! Have a great weekend.

Karen Lange said...

Yes, I try and keep them out of my writing. Easier said than done, but doable.
Have a great weekend:)
Karen

Stephanie said...

yup, I've been there. Thank heavens I'm getting better at spotting them. I can almost always (heh) make my writing stronger with out them and save them for dialogue.

Shari said...

I totally love that paragraph, LOL. (And yes, "totally" is my qualifier of choice.) Thanks for the good reminder to watch out for these sneaky words!

Mary McDonald said...

LOL! Great example paragraph. I'm am guilty. I use 'Maybe' waaaaay too much.

Diane said...

Love your paragraph! Funny. :O)

littlemissjuicy said...

Aahh..so very true!

Renae said...

This was great and so true! Have a great weekend!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's taken time for me to adapt to whacking those qualifier from my work. Some days it's still a struggle!

JEM said...

Haha, I'm starting to think that all your lines look like hairs. Which a little bit grosses me out.

I really only like qualifiers in dialogue because they help define a character's voice. But everywhere else? Rubbish bin.

Mayowa said...

Great post Lydia.

I have a thing for the word "seemed," and it's not pretty. There are a lof of Find/Replace sessions in my future.

Sandy Shin said...

Oh. *hides face in embrassment* I think I overuse every single one of those word. Hopefully, I'll be able to get rid of all of them during revisions.

Paul C said...

One of my pet peeves is 'the fact of the matter is.' It's way too wordy and you sense the person is struggling to come up with a clear thought.

Shannon said...

Excellent post, Lydia. Great reminder!

Have a great weekend. See ya on Wed!

April said...

Oh yes. Let's see....my top two are probably "just" and "even." I use EVEN all the time!!! Ugh.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Oh I somewhat, totally probably have these in my MS. I'm copying the list to delete them.
Thanks for this. :)

T. Anne said...

Yikes I am a qualifier! Is that really such a very bad thing? ;) Have a great long weekend!

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, good post. I'll have to make sure I check those when I'm ready for the next edit.

Have a great holiday weekend. =o)

Jana Hutcheson said...

LOL! Great post! Amazing how often I let these slip into my writing.

Krispy said...

That was kinda sorta epic. XP I'm also a useless qualifier addict. Ah!

lexcade said...

i cut soooooooo many words from my ms by cutting out qualifiers. made the writing that much tighter. great post, and great list! *will be copying and printing to put on my wall...*

Tahereh said...

so so so so SO true.

THANK YOU.

hehe

have a fab weekend!

Jemi Fraser said...

Love it! I have a bazillion qualifiers in my first drafts - although this draft was thankfully much cleaner than the last one. Yay. :)

Julie Musil said...

You caught me! I'd best delete them

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lydia...I have a problem with qualifiers too. Sometimes in my first draft I tend to overuse them, but during revisions they are dropped,chopped and slashed. Have a great weekend!

Medeia Sharif said...

Your paragraph was annoying, but fun. I need to pay more attention to whether or not I overuse qualifiers. I get carried away with the first draft.

Have a great weekend.

Dave King said...

I think that I've fallen in love with your blog: it's zany and funny and witty and different - and most of the things that I find attractive. Where have you been all my blogging?

covnitkepr1 said...

I love the title of this blog.
I came across your blog through another blog I follow and have signed up as a follower. When you’re free, please do visit me and let me know what you think of my blog and leave a comment. If you like, do follow as well. I am always open to great new people and interesting websites. Look forward to hearing from you.

Jen said...

I am very repetitive when it comes to certain words... I need help... I'm addicted to several of them! They constantly sneak in my writing and it drives me crazy!

Faith said...

Eee... those qualifiers get me every time. And I usually don't even notice them until the third or fourth edit, if at all. I need 'Qualifiers Anonymous'!

Bee said...

Haha. Can I say I'm an over-overuser?
I mean, like, seriously, that kinda..well, neat. LOL.

lbdiamond said...

Gosh, well I suppose I kinda should consider maybe cutting down on the qualifiers. Totally! :D

Talli Roland said...

I really love qualifiers very much!

They are easy to lean on, aren't they? I need to slash a few from my MS.

Guinevere said...

I try to cut 90% of the qualifiers out when I go back throuh my writing... anything goes for me in a rough draft, but then I cut anything that's not an important part of the voice or dialogue.

Lisa and Laura said...

I'm kind of the queen of using qualifiers! SEE???? Save me from myself...

Charmaine Clancy said...

Thanks for the reminder, I must slash these from my MS too :-)

lexcade said...

lydia,

thanks for following me :) much appreciated!!!

littlemissjuicy said...

Such great advice! I think EVERYONE should be careful of this when they write.

Southpaw said...

That was kind of cool.

Peggy Shumway said...

I enjoyed your post. I'll have to check my writing for the culprits.

Nicole Murray said...

Often the least amount of words used creates the most impact in writing. Those words should be canned on principle alone. I do know that most of them are first to be taken out folks first edits. That should say something.

Susan Fields said...

You're so right - those words are comforting to use in the first draft (anything to get the story onto the page, right?), but they definitely need to get the axe during revisions.

Dr. Heckle said...

Yeah, I have a huge problem overusing qualifiers.

Please help me doc. Can you prescribe something? lol :P

Christina Lee said...

Oh yeah-rather and quite are my BFF's! Hope you ahd a great weekend!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Great list. Off to go hunting in my writing! :)

Natalie said...

Um, yeah. I love my qualifiers too.

Margo Berendsen said...

I had a list of about five over-used words I do a search for to root them out, now I need to expland my list. Thanks for the tip! loved your writer's thick skin and Deus ex Machina post too though I disagree about the eagles saving Sam & Frodo being just out of nowhere! :)

Victoria Dixon said...

That was a hoot! Seriously. You had a little bit of fun with that, didn't you. Maybe. Kind of? LOL

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Many, many times overused!! Thanks for this great reminder.

salarsenッ said...

I just did a post on these. Yeah, I feel your pain. But sometimes using them can help flush out a scene. Just have to wipe them down after. ";-)

Diane J. said...

Ummmmm, I'm so screwed when I go back to read my first draft, LOL. It may, might, possibly read like your paragraph. Eep!

Nicole MacDonald said...

eeeee... might have to go on the hunt for those in my ms...

Melissa said...

I love qualifiers way too much, I think. Darn. Excellent post!