(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