That seems like

That seems like

That seems like.

This is an old word-trick of mine I use while editing (and I’m certainly finding it useful while reworking Early ReTyrement). I came up with it a few years back and it’s helping me to pull all sorts of chestnuts out of my old, old novel. Keep these three words in mind while you punch up your work…

THAT – I use “that” too often as a filler word and end up tripping over it. “He knew that the only thing that he had to fear was that fear, itself.”

SEEMS – It’s a weak word, once we use to add mystery into a story yet it ends up making the author appear uncertain. “The sky seemed the shade of robin’s egg blue”. No, was it blue or not? the only time you should use seems is when you are describing an uncertain character’s observation. “It seemed to Watson that Sherlock had gone out”. This gives you wiggle room to spring a surprise or introduce a character’s mistake. That way, you can point to your character and say, “He, he thought it. I was only writing it down.”

LIKE – This is a little flag to trigger a mental review. Similes and metaphors are great tricks, one of the first we learn. But overused, they can exasperate the reader who feels he is reading two descriptions, not one. When you hit the word like, pause and review the comparison. If you haven’t been metaphoric recently and its nice and clever and short, go with it. But review it nonetheless.

Anyway, these are tricks of the trade you might wish to use. It seems that these could be useful, like having an editor that stands over your shoulder, catching all that is wrong.