Repost: Weak Words

(Originally posted 10.12.10)

Writing sounds simple. How hard can it be to make stuff up, right? That’s the easy part. Keeping readers engaged is a whole other story. How can you make your writing stronger? Eliminate weak words and phrases. Almost every writer is guilty of using them, at least in first drafts which is precisely where they should stay.

Lexi stood and walked kind of slow to the window. (weak)
Lexi crept to the window. (stronger)

When Tyler turned around to face Lexi, it suddenly made her blush. (weak)
Lexi blushed at Tyler’s attention. (stronger)

I’ve listed some overused words below. If any of them pop up in your manuscript, vanquishing them whenever possible. Rework the sentence until it’s a strong as you can make it. Then move on to the next one.

What words do you tend to overuse?

a bit                        get                     maybe                 talk
a little                   go                       -ness                     that
about                    gone                  quite                     then
actually               got                      rather                  thing
almost                  had                     run                        took
already                have                   seem(s)               turn
been                     -ing                      so                          very
before                  just                      somehow           walk
being                   kind of                 sort of                 was
face                      like                       stand                    watch
feel                       look                     still                        went
felt                       -ly                         suddenly             yet
gave                   made                    take


5 comments on “Repost: Weak Words

  1. lbdiamond says:

    It’s always a good reminder to search for weak words and overused words. 😉

  2. Nicole Mc says:

    Thanks for this list!! I’m going to print it out.

  3. tangynt says:

    I have used this list many many times. And I need to use it many times more.

  4. Oh yes. Those words JUST seem to pop up over and over, but MAYBE that’s KIND OF because they’re so VERY short and so VERY easy to type. I have to get a BIT of help with those overused words SOMEHOW when I’m dreamiLY creating new stories that SEEM to FEEL SUDDENLY SO dull.
    Somebody stop me!

  5. Ugh, I used to use a lot of these! Am getting much better now, thanks to a lot of help from my awesome critique partner!!!



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