I’m in the editing phase for a novel right now and I have been searching through my first draft (thanks Ctr+f) and deleting and editing certain phrases. I already knew to avoid words such as ‘suddenly’ and ‘a lot’. But there are so many more I had no idea about!
The general consensus from all the writers (in the resources listed below) is that certain words need to be cut from your lovely masterpiece if it is to have any chance of succeeding, but in my opinion, never forget what Chuck Wendig tells us: “…fuck success, fuck selling this book, fuck being someone else, fuck writing rules, fuck it, fuck it all.”
So just go ahead and write whatever the fuck you want, k?
Here’s my list (of words to kill) so far:
Then / next
Sort of/Kind of
In order to
Often / frequently
Only (placement of)
I believe there may be many situations where it is OK to use some of the above words. Certain dialogues may require more colloquial language as compared to a formal essay or report. I often use the word ‘really’ in real life, so I find this hard to avoid in dialogue and if I do the prose starts to present as very formal and unbelievable.
Anywho, looking back over my recent work, I uncovered that I am a sucker for the words ‘just’, ‘really’, ‘look’, ‘seem’ and ‘very’. I followed the advice outlined in the articles below and deleted any appearances of those words and found alternatives for ‘look’. Most of the time you can delete the word and you’re a left with a tighter, stronger sentence. Who knew!
Oh and avoid exclamation points where possible. Good example of a self-published book that drove me mad from it’s over use of exclamation points is The Billionaires Heart. This sweet romance novel is a free ebook and seriously needs to cut down on the exclamation points! If you cast a quick eye over the reviews, you’ll notice it drove many other readers batty! I’m not usually one to bemoan someone else’s work, so I’ll admit, it’s a sweet Christian romance!