Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Addicted to Writing Presents: An Editor's Rant

An Editor’s Rant
C. L. Kraemer

Eat Like A Horse »
Feel Like A Million Dollars »

Feel Like A New Person »

Fit Like A Glove »

Go Over Like A Lead Balloon »

Like A Sitting Duck »

Like An Open Book »

Like Ships That Pass In The Night »

Like Two Peas In A Pod »

Like Water Off A Duck's Back »

Look Like A Million Dollars »

Look Like Something The Cat Dragged In »

Off Like A Shot »

Out Like A Light »

Sleep Like A Baby »

Sleep Like A Log »

Spread Like Wildfire »

Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb »

All the above phrases have been used at one point or another in stories I’ve edited. The minute most people read them they understand the idea behind the phrase.

HOWEVER, I find when writers resort to”like” phrases, they stop trying to find the ‘right’ word for the idea they’re trying to express. Like phrases are the easy way out. Slap one in the story and move on.

I’d say all the biggies don’t do it but I’d be a liar. Being an editor has ruined my ability to read without unconsciously editing the material. This has proven to be a great disappointment in some of my favorite writers. Now that I’m more versed in the English grammar end of things, I’ve discovered how relaxed editing houses were many decades ago.

My challenge to writers who truly wish to achieve the best they can with their writing is, forego the crutch of like phrases.
For example;
Spread Like Wildfire
What is it about this phrase that stands out in my mind?
What are you looking for with the idea? Do you want impress the idea of danger spreading so rapidly there is no hope for help? Or is it the unexpectedness of wildfire you wish to convey?
What other words will put the idea across with more emphasis? I suspect most writers have a Synonym Finder or Dictionary either on their desk or in their computer. Using the right word can take a story from good to fantastic with just a little more work.

Help your editor not pull out what little hair is left on their head. Rethink the ‘like’ phrases.

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