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Mayhapped into a stupor!

Wheezer

I'm reading a fantasy novel on Kindle by a popular Amazon author. I'm 3/4 of the way through the book, and it seems the author cannot go two paragraphs without using the word 'mayhap.' I counted the use of the word four times in two sentences. The rest of the dialog is in normal modern colloquial English. 'Mayhap' is the only attempt to use dialect. It's annoying as hell and is probably going to cause me not to buy any more of this authors work - or take up having a few shots of Vodka first.

Ernest Bywater

In addition, you can include a few other overused phrases by some authors.

Crumbly Writer

That's why I perform searches for repeated words, especially near each other, during my revision process—much to the consternation of my editors, who often put them back in. But, as long as I reduce the frequency of the repeated words, I'm happy.

The exception to this guideline, however, is certain stories deal with concepts for which there is ONLY one word describing it. I've had several stories like that. In that case, you have no choice but to continually use the same word.

But I agree with you. Even IF the author was incapable of noticing such sloppy writing, his editors should have caught it. The fact that they didn't imply that not only is the author sloppy about his writing, but that his editors aren't much help. (Of course, that's assuming the author didn't just say, "The hell with you, I'm keeping them in regardless!"

Wheezer

@Crumbly Writer

Of course, that's assuming the author didn't just say, "The hell with you, I'm keeping them in regardless!"


I think he did. It's an archaic word, so mayhap it was his attempt to give his characters dialog a medieval flavor. The fantasy is set in a world of magic with a medieval level of technology. Other than a lack of contractions, the rest of the characters dialog is modern.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

I think he did. It's an archaic word, so mayhap it was his attempt to give his characters dialog a medieval flavor. The fantasy is set in a world of magic with a medieval level of technology. Other than a lack of contractions, the rest of the characters dialog is modern.

I guess the main character was transported from the magical world of Mayhap. Seriously, though, it's not that difficult to research medieval speech.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I agree with your comments.
One thing I especially look for is nouns repeated in the same paragraph. That can be a clue that the language can be simplified. In particular, if you can rephrase so the noun is the object in one sentence and the subject of the next, you can avoid a repetition with pronoun such as 'he', 'it', or 'that' in the second sentence.
It is sometimes surprising how easily and frequently that can be done.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Wheezer

The sad part is that this author is a top selling, high ranked author on Amazon with hundreds of positive reviews for each of his books. It's obvious that my nitpick does not bother most of his readers, or they are oblivious to it.

Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

The sad part is that this author is a top selling, high ranked author on Amazon with hundreds of positive reviews for each of his books. It's obvious that my nitpick does not bother most of his readers, or they are oblivious to it.


Or the Amazon system is easily gamed by them.

Dominions Son

@Wheezer

It's obvious that my nitpick does not bother most of his readers, or they are oblivious to it.


Or maybe your nitpick is too nitpicky.

Replies:   Wheezer
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

the language can be simplified


To me, 'simplified' would involve changing in the other direction, eg replacing 'he' by 'Frank'.

It's unsurprisingly easy for a writer to introduce ambiguity.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Wheezer

@Dominions Son

Or maybe your nitpick is too nitpicky.

Possibly. Probably...but it's mine. I own it and proclaim it proudly. Others can go find their own damn nitpicks.

Dominions Son

@Wheezer

but it's mine. I own it and proclaim it proudly.


Good for you. :)

Others can go find their own damn nitpicks.


Personally, I prefer breeding peeves as pets.

richardshagrin

nitpick

pick and shovel are related. If you nitshovel are you adding more nits than with a pick?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

pick and shovel are related. If you nitshovel are you adding more nits than with a pick?


A pick doesn't add or remove nits, it breaks large nits into small nits.

A nitshovel can add or remove nits depending on how it's used.

Wheezer

There's always that one child in the room running around interrupting the adults, saying "look at me!"

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@Wheezer

But the children that might really deserve some attention from responsible adults are those that try to become invisible.

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

Do you have a way of searching for repeated words without knowing in advance which words are repeated?

Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

There are text analysis tools out there that include word frequencies in the results.

Here is one on-line tool: http://textalyser.net/

The results include frequencies for single words and for phrases of 2, 3, 4, and 5 words.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Ross at Play

@PotomacBob

Some other text analyzers are:
sporkforge
whitewords

CW uses autocrit. It is the only one I've found that analyses words repeated closely together. The annual fee for its full service is expensive, but the number of words the free version will analyse at once is quite small.
Before using its many other reports, ask CW which reports it produces are worthwhile for authors of fiction. Some may be useful for technical writers but have so many false positives they are a waste of time for authors to use.

PotomacBob

@Dominions Son

Thank you. Did not know such a tool existed.

PotomacBob

@Ross at Play

Thank you.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

To me, 'simplified' would involve changing in the other direction, eg replacing 'he' by 'Frank'.

For me, 'simplified' means 'easy to read', which any great author can tell you, is damn hard work to pull off!

Crumbly Writer

@Wheezer

Possibly. Probably...but it's mine. I own it and proclaim it proudly. Others can go find their own damn nitpicks.

I'm too picky to pickle your damn nits! Go nitpick them yourself. 'D

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Do you have a way of searching for repeated words without knowing in advance which words are repeated?

I use autocrit. It's fairly pricey (I got a discounted lifetime subscription when it was still new, to help them fund additional investments.) But it runs several fairly detailed reports, including "Repeated Words", which highlight all the words that are grouped near each other (both in the same sentence and separated by a paragraph or two). Like most of it's reports, you've got to pick and choose your battles, otherwise it'll make you crazy chasing down all the details it reports, but it adds almost a full day during my revision process for each chapter I finish. It also tells you how many "that"s, "just"s and "only"s you have.

They've got a free page, though it's limited to only a thousand words, but it'll give you an idea of it's capabilities.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

CW uses autocrit. It is the only one I've found that analyses words repeated closely together. The annual fee for its full service is expensive, but the number of words the free version will analyse at once is quite small.
Before using its many other reports, ask CW which reports it produces are worthwhile for authors of fiction. Some may be useful for technical writers but have so many false positives they are a waste of time for authors to use.

The most useful are:
Repeated Words
Sentence Length
Dialogue Tags
Adverbs
Redundancies
Filler Words

Luckily, the last two are VERY short. The dialogue tags informs you when you keep repeating the same tags, as a result, I now use plain "said" a LOT more. The Adverbs and Filler Words are useful, because once you examine them, you find that, most often, you simply don't need them.

On a typical chapter, once I'm done, I'll have removed around 50 to 300 words just by cleaning up the language.

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