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While Nie Chang still wondered what he could do to make sure his boyfriend wouldn’t worry Su Yan had already cajoled himself and had gone back to working with the system.
He felt like he had understood what those fillers were about. Taking a casual look at the scene he had written … he wanted to cry. How come there were so many of them?! Was it really true that he couldn’t write?
Sniffling he copied the original scene for the sake of his experience points and pasted it into the space provided by the system. Once again the messages he got in response were different from the ones he knew.
[Searching for filler words.]
The system paused as if it would take a long time to prepare an example. Then it already displayed the results.
Warning: Almost 5% of used words are deemed fillers.
Most used filler: just (8)
Other fillers to take note of: only, instantly, actually, probably]
This was all there was to the results of the system but he had a button at the bottom that read [See annotated example.] Su Yan pursed his lips and clicked on the button. Seeing an example would probably help him to understand this better than that list of words could. Well, the system didn’t disappoint him although he felt a little dumbfounded when he saw the result. It really was too ugly to look at.
[Take a look at the following paragraph from your story. It consists of forty words, three of which are filler words. These were put in parentheses.
‘Yi Zan admiringly ran his eyes over his body. He was (instantly) entranced. This was (exactly) the kind of man he had longed for! He was like one of those heroes clad in white robes, (instantly) melting his maiden heart.’
The filler words instantly1, exactly and instantly2 don’t add meaning and thus only serve to increase the word count. Try to find similar instances in the rest of your story and cut them.
Remember: Not all filler words are bad. Especially in dialog they can serve a purpose.]
Su Yan nodded to himself. Alright, this example was something he could actually understand. It was much better than those three examples the system had provided him with at the beginning.
He opened his document again and started to delete all the filler words he had spotted before. Then he saved another copy before pasting it into the system. This time he naturally hadn’t chosen to upload a first version. No, this time he had made it an edited version.
As soon as he clicked [next] and the messages started to appear Su Yan froze. Wait! There were other messages. No, not only that, even the way the system displayed the results was different. Don’t tell him he wouldn’t be able to get experience points because of this?!
He waited with bated breath and finally, the results were displayed again.
Most used filler: maybe (3), seemed (3)]
The system didn’t have anything else to say. There was no more warning and no listing of other filler words. So … did this mean he was good to go to upload the same text as the final version?
Su Yan pursed his lips and looked at the text again. He still had more than ten fillers. Maybe it would be better if he cut some others out as well? According to the system the ones he had used most were ‘maybe’ and ‘seemed’.
He frowned. How was ‘seemed’ a filler word? If something seemed, then it seemed. How could the system claim that this word didn’t add any meaning to the sentences?
Su Yan used the search function. With the other fillers, he hadn’t had any problems to delete them. Or, well, he hadn’t after he thought about the sentences for a bit. But with this word …
There! That first sentence: ‘And then, Yi Zan’s gaze seemed to have met his for a moment and he started to walk in his direction!’ How was he supposed to delete ‘seemed’ from this sentence? Should he just write ‘And then, Yi Zan’s gaze met his for a moment and he started to walk in his direction!’?
Su Yan blinked. Eh? Actually, this didn’t sound too bad …
Su Yan reached over to the side and tugged at that sleeve again. He didn’t even look over but Nie Chang already slid closer and looked at the screen.
“What’s the problem now?”
“Look at this sentence!” He selected it so Nie Chang could take a better look.
“It looks good?”
“Really?” Su Yan raised his brows. Could it really have been that easy?
“Why? Do you think something is wrong with it?”
“Uh … No. No, I think it’s perfect.” Su Yan turned back to his screen and took a look at the other sentences.
Nie Chang waited a moment just in case his boyfriend would need him again. But when he saw Su Yan continue to work he also slid back. If Su Yan wanted something else, he would tell him so.
Su Yan went through the sentences with the filler words he hadn’t been able to delete before and tried to rewrite them somehow. There was only one ‘seemed’ he didn’t manage to cut out however much he tried. He had the same problem with some other words but … it should be alright now, shouldn’t it?
Ah, he’d just try it! Su Yan went back to the selection for the style task and chose the last option. This final version should get him a lot of experience! After all, he had deleted so many fillers!
He hurriedly copied the text and had the system judge the new version. The result was … Well, it was great to see that he had indeed managed to reduce the number of filler words again but … couldn’t his system praise him a little? Why did he only get two lines?!
The system had actually only told him the number of words and fillers! It hadn’t even told him what his most used filler was!
Hmph. Well, he hoped that at least the experience points were decent.
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