My Go-To Guys

Rock stars have people.

Presidents have people.

I have . . .

well, I have people, but not in the same sense.

What I have are go-to things (for lack of a better word) that I fall back on if I'm stressed or out of time or have to make a quick choice.

For instance - for dinner it's baked chicken or chili mac. Movies - a romantic comedy. Snack - anything with tortilla chips.

Image by prettywar-stl/Licensed Under Creative Commons
Did I make you hungry?

Anyway, moving on. I just finished inputting the final editing changes on what was my work in progress. Surprise-surprise, I learned I also have go-to words. I use these words when I talk, too, so I suppose I shouldn't have been so surprised I used them so often in my manuscript and didn't notice they were there.

I attacked those suckers in the same way I'd attack that bowl of guacamole up there and showed them who was boss. Not many of the greatest offenders remain. I learned a lot.

How about you?

Have you ever learned you had a go-to that you weren't aware of?

Happy Monday!


Anne Gallagher said…
Oh my go-to words! Love those just really actually.

Go-to things, any Jane Austen movie adaptation. Chocolate. Linda Ronsdat.
Rula Sinara said…
Ah yes, go to words (don't get me started on food). Just, just, just, just... ;)
Liza said…
"That" and Frito's with onion dip or chocolate bread pudding...or...
Linda G. said…
Oh, yes. I always have to do a search-and-destroy run for "just" and "look." I'm learning to catch them as I write, but they do slip past me.

And, yeah, now I'm craving tortilla chips.
I used to love chocolate but gave it up years ago to lose weight, I do have a hot chocolate at night but as for other chocolate it's a no go,

Jennifer Shirk said…
Oh my goodness yes!
And actually I was just reading a book and quickly found out THAT author's go to-word too. It was "furtively" of all words! LOL
Joanne said…
Yes! It's interesting how our minds latch on to a certain word and use some variation of it often unless we consciously change it up as we go, or seek it out and change it. It must be going around, as yours is the second post I've read today about the very same thing!
Linda Kage said…
Oh yeah, you made me hungry. Wicked woman!

I infidelity have go-to words...and scenes...and every other naughty crutch I know I shouldn't have. But they're just so addictive.
that that that that kaboom!!!!
Clarissa Draper said…
You are making me hungry!

But, you're right, when I edit, I realize I have go-to words (what a great name for it) and always have to edit them out.
I have quite a few 'go to' words that I have to edit out of my manuscripts. That little 'find' button comes in handy. I love chocolate, but am trying to cut back a little on that 'go to' food.
Emily R. King said…
I'm always on the hunt for overused words, but really, how many different ways can you write "surprise"? It takes a lot of creativity.
Oh yes and my critique partners were good at point out those words!
And now I want chips.
LR said…
Mmm tortilla chips!

"Just" and "that" often need to be stripped out, as others have mentioned.

You once mentioned a nifty online tool for catching such stuff. What was it called again?
Colette Martin said…
Definitely go-to books (any books), movies, and shopping.
Slamdunk said…
Fortunately, an online thesaurus makes me sound less redundant. I must have been really annoying pre-Internet days.
I hear you about the go-to words. Sigh. My go-to DVD(s) are my seasons of the West Wing. Sigh again - but for a completely different reason.
J.L. Campbell said…
Hi, Carol,

I guess we all have our favourites. Mine are 'now' and 'still'. I seem to stick them in everywhere without being aware of what I'm doing.
McKenzie McCann said…
Oh chili mac. It shouldn't be good, but it is. It tastes fantastic when you're backpacking.

Anyway, my go-to words change in every draft. In my latest, my go-to is 'fill,' and in another I used the word, 'sit' too much.
The reason as to why they change as just as much a mystery to you as to me.
McKenzie McCann said…
Oh chili mac. It shouldn't be good, but it is. It tastes fantastic when you're backpacking.

Anyway, my go-to words change in every draft. In my latest, my go-to is 'fill,' and in another I used the word, 'sit' too much.
The reason as to why they change as just as much a mystery to you as to me.
I'm a go to kind of gal. HA! so yes I have go-tos. Movies and books that inspire. Words and phrases I shouldn't use.

L.G.Smith said…
I am a terrible abuser of the word "just." I have to go through and do a search and destroy when I'm done writing.

And I just (<< see!) finished reading a novel that used the word "grimaced" for almost every facial expression. I'll bet it was in there at least twenty times. Got to be distracting after awhile.
Carol Kilgore said…
Anne - Not surprised by Jane Austen :)

Rula - It's just so easy :)

Liza - Love onion dip.

Linda G - Little. I learned I loved little.

Yvonne - I like chocolate, but I prefer salty and savory over sweet.
Mason Canyon said…
Go-to words, I like that for words I can't seem to help but use.

Thoughts in Progress
Southpaw said…
I do, but it changes per book.
Carol Kilgore said…
Jennifer - Worlds like furtively really stand out after a few encounters.

Joanne - The great cosmic mind :)

Linda K - They must be addictive - that would explain it.

Delores - That settles that :)

Clarissa - I was pretty much on top of words that had been my go-tos ... and developed a whole new batch in the process. Sigh.
Carol Kilgore said…
Janet - I have a definite love/hate relationship going on with the Find button :)

Emily - Learn them all :)

Alex - I LOVE my wonderful critique partners - I'll even share chips with them :)

LR - The nifty tool is AutoCrit reached here

Colette - The only shopping I like is in cool little shops.
Carol Kilgore said…
Slamdunk - A thesaurus can help you out of a jam or two.

Elspeth - Loved West Wing.

J.L. - Still is one of mine, too.

McKenzie - I have the same issues. New words take the place of those I'm watching for.

Teresa - I use some naughty words and phrases over and over, too. Need to be more creative.
Carol Kilgore said…
Luanne - Grimaced falls into the same category of furtively - that Jennifer mentioned. More than a couple really stand out.

Mason - Nasty creatures - LOL.

Holly - Maybe it's our characters putting those words in our head. Or maybe I need more wine :)
McKenzie McCann said…
Do you? Good to hear I'm not alone. I agree with E.R. You have to use the word that best fits, and sometimes, 'He sat down,' is just the best.
Lydia Kang said…
I have go-to words but I end up weeding them out later! Still it's nice to have things to lean on, right?
Carol Kilgore said…
McKenzie - Writing is a total learning experience.

Lydia - I try to weed them out as I go, but still have a chunk on that last pass before I read aloud. Nice strong crutches :)
Misha Gericke said…
Hahaha yes, and my CPs are making me aware of every one of them. :-D
Carol Kilgore said…
Misha - CPs are good at that. I'm sure you return the favor.
Tracy Jo said…
Yes! My go-to is "just"...say it and write it all the time. Aaarrgh. :-) Now I want chips.
Carol Kilgore said…
I always want chips. Sigh.
Jenny Woolf said…
Totally. The amount of times I use "going to" - horrble clumsy pair of words, almost never needed. Sheesh!
Meals - soup, nice soup but soup all the same. In summer, it's salad. Major stress- chocolate. Lesser stress - cups of tea.
Carol Kilgore said…
Jenny - Live-In Handyman is the soup maker in our house. He makes fantastic creations :)