Three weeks have past since I made a post about writing, and I had a difficult time deciding what to talk about. I'll blame my indecision on still recuperating from vacation - hey, works for me!
So I decided to talk about overusage of words. It's easy for us to get in the habit of using the same words over and over.
When you edit and find 20 justs in the first chapter, you put that word on your list of words to check. Pretty soon you'll become aware of anytime you type j-u-s-t, or even think it, and its use won't be a problem anymore. But another word will take its place, and your list will self-propagate.
Some words - it and there come to mind - probably won't make your list, but they should flash automatic signals to your fingers. We use them without much thought.
I've gone back and edited the first paragraph of this post. Originally, the first sentence began: It's been three weeks since. . . . And the second sentence read: I'll blame it on. . . .
The first is a variation of the it was/there was construction that signals weak, passive writing. The second usage was vague. Blame what? It is a pronoun and needs to have a noun to represent. In this case, there was nothing for it to refer to.
I'm not saying don't ever use these or any other words. I am saying to be judicious in their use. If any word on your list appears more than a few times in any chapter, that's your sign. Short story and article writers, adjust accordingly.
You'll see I've used it a few times in this post. Can you find the one I should have changed? How would you have changed it?