editing tips, Overused Words, Self-editing, Strong vs Weak Words, Strong Words, Weak Words, writers, writing, Writing Advice, writing tips
Hi folks! I’m back from four lovely days with the beautiful Pam. Did you enjoy the break from me? Well, brace yourself for another post in the Strong vs Weak Word series.
“Told” is another flat word. My novel is in the first person. Much (not all) of the dialog is narrated, meaning without quotation marks. So therefore, “told” might not be a problem for you. It was for me.
I examined the “tolds” and converted some of the narrated dialog into “he saids” and she saids.” However, not all.
“Told” jumps out at you and slaps you across the face. But “told” can also be stated as screamed, whispered, or ranted. Or simply as “said.”
Again, the difference is subtle. Losing “told” also gets rid of an unneeded pronoun. Let’s see if I can make sense of this with some examples.
Robin jumped for joy when I told her I made a pitcher of martinis.
Gin or vodka?
When Robin learned I was pouring martinis, she ran three stoplights driving to my house.
Robin kicked down my door and I told her I would call the police.
I found my can of mace and warned Robin I have the police on speed dial.
She snorted when I told her I was serious about calling the cops.
Robin is like that when she wants a martini.
Robin threw a water balloon at me when I said the cops were on their way.
The single tear on Robin’s cheek told me she was at the breaking point.
What a basket case!
The single tear on Robin’s cheek let me know I better pour her a drink.
I told Robin she needs rehab.
Phew. She does need it.
I outlined the benefits of rehab while the intervention group filed in.
When Robin refused to leave, I told her she was obstinate.
I bet that didn’t go well.
Robin handcuffed herself to the table and I called her an obstinate fool.
Robin growled at me when I told her she needed to leave.
Someone needed to say it. Better you than me.
Robin growled at me when I dragged her and the table out the door.
Sorry for the numerous examples, but there are many ways to say “told.”
Also, note the legal use of the martini glass photo!
Russel Ray Photos said:
A pitcher of martinis? I had no idea you could make a pitcher of martinis. A picture of margaritas, yes. But a pitche of martinis? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
Robin Coyle said:
Shaken, not stirred.
You are too funny!
And I DID notice the legal use of the martini glass photo… haha, I think we all learned that lesson.
Question… Just how long have you been working on this book of yours?
Which book? My novel, or the Strong vs. Weak Word book?
Let’s see . . . novel off and on (mostly off) for 3 years. Lots of ON of late.
The first Strong vs Weak word post was end of April. At that time, I didn’t know the first post would turn into a series with requests for turning the posts into a book. Flattering beyond belief!
It will be a very handy book to have and use while editing… I will be the first in line to buy it. I’ll buy two copies and send the other to my editor 🙂
Thanks Maggie! I appreciate your support. You make an excellent cheerleader.
Go Robin, Go Robin, Yay Robin… Oh my, where did that come from?
Ha! You are a natural!
PS I’m totally digging the alcohol intake – glad it’s not just me! 😉
Ha ha! Cheers! However, if I drink one martini, I am under the table. I’m a lightweight . . . except when it comes to wine.
Girl, glad to see you back and in fine form! I think this may be my favourite SvW posts! So humorous! Your tips remind me of how easy it is to write in a lazy/sloppy fashion. Thank you for continuing with these great tips – need I say it again? Publish it! 🙂
So glad to be back and to have YOU back!
I crack myself up and I’m happy you had a little chuckle.
If I can EVER finish editing my novel and STOP finding weak words, next on the list is publishing SvW words. Thanks for giving me the nickname for the series.
Lynne Ayers said:
OK, some of these were so good I had to read them out to my husband – just so you know, he thinks you’re funny too. (And you are in my head as I do my posts … that’s weak … what did Robin say about that one? … what’s another word for … darn that Robin, I can’t write in peace any more. ….
I’m glad your husband doesn’t think I’m a lunatic. Well, maybe he does.
It must be annoying to have me in your head! Think of it as me keeping you company while you write.
Does this mean we are having martinis tonight?
That sounds lovely but you will need to look for me under the table.
Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife said:
I really enjoy the contrasting statements that show how weak or strong words are.
Have I told you that? 🙂
It is fun playing with words. The weak words do the job, but the strong words make the sentences more visual.
Have I told you how much I enjoy your blog? Er . . . Your blog makes my heart lighter and day brighter.
All things told, I’m glad you got your drink.
Ha! I needed a drink after editing out the “tolds.”
The Wanderlust Gene said:
Good to have you back! Glad you told us about pesky tolds, the Book of Weak is getting pretty big, hope I can remember all your advice when I need it!
It is fun to be back!
Watch for the series in book form soon! (I hope . . . )
Welcome back, Robin! Hope you had fun and that you’re well-rested to teach us poor writers how to slash their manuscripts to bits. 🙂
We had a blast but as for well-rested . . . not so much. We packed the days with activities and stayed up too late gabbing.
No manuscript slashing allowed. Gentle polishing and tightening sentences please.
Vanessa Chapman said:
Hope you had a lovely break! I’m starting to worry that soon there won’t be any words left that we are allowed to use! 😉
I noticed how many of the weak words are 4-letter. Hmmm . . .
You can use the 16 words I’ve narrowed the dictionary down to.
Robin is back, and so are the nasty words that I need to avoid. Not you Robin. You’re not a nasty word that needs to be avoided. You are Batman’s sidekick, and since we are on the same side of the law, we’re both good. You’re good. I’m good. All is good… or so I’m told. 🙂
I’m so glad to hear I’m not a nasty word. However, I bet you say a few nasty words when you see an email saying I’ve posted another WEAK word, right?
It is always refreshing to be told something in such a humorous way. Welcome back, Robin! ~ Lily
I’m glad you think it is humorous not annoying!
Thanks Lily. It is nice to be back at it!
Madame Weebles said:
Yay, welcome back, Robin!
Thank you MW! Thank you!
I love it! Great examples. Question: So you have a list of the 26 Lessons? I’d love to print a short list that gave me the salient info, and I think your titles always do. 😎
I am thinking of putting the series in one place on my blog so they are easier to find. Watch for it. Also, watch for the series in book form!
You better believe it! I can’t wait to see the final work. It should be a book, so I’m very glad you are heading that way. 😎
Robin Jean Marie said:
Robin told Robin to stop telling her what to do.
Not really. This is a great post!
You can tell me to stop. I won’t be offended Robin! Well . . . maybe a little. 🙂
Let's CUT the Crap! said:
Another word for my arsenal. Nice to have you back, Robin.
Ah Tess . . . four days away was a much needed break. But so nice to talk with all of you again!
Carrie Rubin said:
Robin’s back. Yeah! I didn’t even bother checking for this word, because I emailed off my final edits today. All that’s left are line edits for typos and other small things. So let’s hope I didn’t go overboard with the “told”s. If I did, I’ll have to do better next time around, I guess. 🙂
Congratulations on sending your manuscript off. That must feel fantastic! So nice to be back.
Whew, not too many. And most of them are in dialogue where they sound natural, I think. Good to see you back!
Nice to be back! “Told” is a word that may be a problem, or not, depending on the point of view of your story. “Told” was a problem for me!
A great post! At least that’s what I told myself! 🙂
That is a lovely thing to tell yourself!
Yes, yes it is.
I was happy to see the email announcing that you had a new post.
How kind of you to say! Thank you. The break from blogging was welcomed, but it is also nice to be back.