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Common Phrases Used by Authors

commo phrasesNow this is an interesting little chart I stumbled upon as I browsed Facebook. This post from the Writer’s Circle. I often enjoy the posts this page puts up, but this one made me stop and think. And the question that popped in my brain was… What would be the most common phrases in my writing?

An argument could be made for the listed words and phrases as being too simplistic and possibly boring. But considering the intended audience (young adult), is that really a bad thing? And it opens the question… is simplistic writing possibly a better way to go? After all, these series are best sellers.

I also noticed that all the sentences are telling and not showing. Is that another telling sign of quality of writing, or does that show that telling can be as important to a story as showing? After all, a story can’t be all showing. Sometimes telling the story is necessary for the sake of brevity.

Also, these sentences show a tendency for these authors to use certain phrases a lot, which sometimes can get annoying. Like in Fifty Shades of Grey with “holy cow” and “yes, please”. *sigh* (I’m pretty sure E. L. James would win the prize for most simplistic sentences. Just saying.)

It would be interesting to see this comparison in adult fiction writers like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or Dean Koontz. What would their most commonly used sentences be? Would they be more complex? Would they be more showing?

Personally, considering the intended audience, I would think the adult authors would have more complex sentences, but it’s interesting to think about. And it’s something to keep in mind as I write. What are my sentences like? Do I use certain phrases too much? Am I using a good balance of showing and telling. Are my sentences too simple for the intended audience? Are they too complicated?

But most of all this chart begs the question… who was crazy enough to actually sit down and figure out Collins, Meyers, and Rowlings most commonly used sentences?

What are your thoughts on the chart? Do you think these sentences show an accurate representation of their writing styles? And what can be learned from this comparison?


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