Sometime during the course of my writing life I somehow decided some to be an appropriate word for many things. After all, it’s generic. I could say sometime, somewhere and simply some. It meant a lot of things. I didn’t need to go looking for the perfect word to describe something; some summed it up.
Some was the perfect word for everything I didn’t want to identify.
Then it happened. A fellow writer made a casual comment about words – those empty ones which fill our writing without us realising it – and in that concoction of terms, he included the word some.
I didn’t say anything at the time because for one, I didn’t believe him, and two, I wanted to see if he was right.
Here’s what I found when I removed some from a few of my Shadows in the Stone sentences and replaced it with a more meaningful word. The some word is crossed out and replaced with the underlined word(s). Where needed, the speaker’s name is added in brackets for clarity.
Joris heard Bronwyn grunt. When he looked up, his brother frowned at him.
(Bronwyn)“Isla’s only twelve – too young to think of that stuff.”
(Joris) “That stuff brings dreams to life. It makes you feel alive in all the right places – something a sensation you can’t get from an immaculate uniform.”
The above is a perfect example of a filler word. The new words a sensation provides a clearer picture to readers and gets Joris’ point across. Since this worked so well, I tried another.
The elf who tended the archives and library clutched a note pad and rocked back and forth in a methodical motion in his chair. Bronwyn noticed the misaligned buttons of his untucked shirt. Strange for someone a man who supposedly organised every record held at the castle for the past seventy-five years.
That change wasn’t too drastic, but it provided a sharper image. Here’s another where eliminating some clearly makes a big difference.
A strange urgency sparked in Anna’s belly as if something had startled her and she felt an urge to escape.
A strange urgency sparked in Anna’s belly and she felt the urge to escape as if a henchman grabbed her from behind.
What I’ve learnt in the some removal exercise is how to identify the who, what and how in a sentence instead of using some. By doing this, I don’t force readers to guess at what I mean. I tell them exactly what I want them to know.
Do you use some words sometimes or lots?