Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Scaffolding. Know what it is, and how to recognize it? If you're a writer, you should. Now, if I were a different kind of blog, I would give a long, helpful definition of what scaffolding is. Like this.

I strongly recommend that you read the article, because seriously, I'm not planning on going into much detail in defining it. To offer a very brief summary, in my own words: Scaffolding are the words and phrases that we insert into our writing (often without realizing,)as a way of keeping the action moving and the story flowing. They are crutch words, fillers. Know what I'm saying? No? That's why I linked to the article. Read it.

At any rate, I have been editing PAMR again, and I have some amusing stats on my own personal scaffolding. I made a list of words that I've noticed in various rounds of editing that I use a lot. Then, I used the Find function on Word to discover just how many I was dealing with. It's rather entertaining.

-stare/staring: 108

-gaze: 126

-glance: 130

-heart: 108

-breath: 178

(and best of all)-unnecessary usages of the word "that": 283

So in summary, one of these six words was used 2.731 times on every page in my story! That, my friends, is scaffolding.


Natalie said...

Ah, yes. I'm very familiar with scaffolding. I'm a pro at it even.

I do remember Jetta's heart pounding like crazy a lot, hehe.

In Void, I had to chop a bunch of "stomach twisting," since Coral happens to have a very weak stomach. In the early version I swear the girl was perpetually nauseated.

Lady Glamis said...

Oh, I plan on reading this. Thanks for the link!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Ouch, stare and glance are huge ones for me. I write them, and half the time I immediately delete them. And I still end up with a lot. Eh.

On to more rewriting!

Kasie West said...

I was just reading through one of my WIPs and was shocked at how often I unnecessarily used the word "that". I've been more conscious of it lately and have been curbing the use, but this was an older book and it was staggering. I must now go read the article. Thanks for the link.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Ooh, sounds like a love story with all the breathing, hearts, and looks. And thats. Oh yes, the perfect ingredient for any romance-"that." I think scaffolding is okay because like the real scaffolding you can go back and take it down later. But when you are writing you need scaffolding to build your work.

Renee Collins said...

Natalie-ha! I have plenty of stomach twists in my book as well.

Michelle-Good! It expands on the whole issue of scaffolding much better than I did.

Miriam-Yeah, my goal is to cut each one of those stats in half, more so if possible.

Kasie-I wonder if we add extra thats when we speak, or if it's just a writing thing. *shrug* Whatever the reason, the final count really surprised me.

Jessie-Very true! Scaffolding is necessary as we write. It keeps us going. I mean, if we try to hard to analyze every word we are using as we write that first draft, we'll never finish.

sraasch said...

I get caught scaffolding after dialogue. Not really dialogue tags, more things like "She rolled her eyes" or "He groaned" or expressions of action. We're all guilty, dearie.

Terresa said...

I love this. I wasn't familiar with the term. Thank you for the link!!

giddymomof6 said...

Holy moley! You've scared me big time now. Those are some of my most favorite words... I'm terrified of using the find and search thingy...

Mo said...

aspiring blogger who'd love some of you and your friends feedback... Certainly researching scaffolding to get better...

Also trying to be more frequent.. Nice to stumble upon such a well connected network of bloggers... Am set with a bunch of reading :)