Like, you know, Verbal Pauses in a Short Story!

Fencing by Pearson Scott Foresman [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We all use them in our daily life, those extra words that give us a chance to regroup our thoughts when conversing.  Words such as “like” and “you know” have been parodied for years in both the film and written arts.  But other words such as “Because”, “Actually” and “So” go under the radar and many of these verbal pause words become part of the written narrative.

Verbal pauses are not good for short story writers. They create cultter, can bore and often frustrate or confuse the reader. Worse than can negatively effect the style you are creating within the story.

As a short story writer you must ask yourself:

  • Are these words necessary?
  • Are there more descriptive words that can be used? Is the room “very warm” or “hot”?
  • Are the words adding to the style or mood that you are trying to create?

A tool I have found helpful is the “word search” commands that come with most software. When I find a verbal pause word in my writing, I just type it in to the “word search” and find out where it appears in my story. Try this with some of your writings and you may be surprised.

The verbal pause sometimes does have a place in the short story.  When developing a character and their personality, the verbal pause can be an effective tool when used in dialog.

Well, I hope this article is informative and helps your writing in the future.  (I know, I know, I know…. I used a verbal pause!!)


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.