Thursday, November 19, 2009

Word Search and Destroy

If you or someone you know is in need of a critique group, check out this post. I’m accepting e-mails until tomorrow night.

Sierra Godfrey had a great post today about certain words to search for and delete in our manuscripts. Here’s the list she posted:

• about
• actually
• almost
• like
• appears
• approximately
• basically
• being
• even
• eventually
• exactly
• finally
• just
• just then
• kind of
• nearly
• practically
• really
• seems
• simply
• somehow
• somewhat
• sort of
• suddenly
• truly
• utterly
• were

Can you add to the list? What words creep into your stories a little too often?


  1. Great list. Here's a few I thought of:


    Makes it passive, and honestly, one doesn't begin to run. They just run. I use these very very sparingly.

    "as if" and "like" not to omit, just to be aware of how many you have in a chapter/page, etc. Too many similes/metaphors can bog down a book if not done properly.

    That's all I can think of right now, baby screams distract me :P

  2. Lynnette, I have a great word that needs to be destroyed!


    I use this word waaaay too often.

    "Have you ever had the feeling that you were somewhere you really shouldn’t be and about to get busted?"

    See how much better the sentence reads without "that"?

    Ugh, after going back over my latest manuscript, I sought out and destroyed this word over a thousand times in 244 pages.


  3. Dawn, "that" is a like a tick: it burrows its nasty little head in and does whatever it can to stay. "That" is a great one to remove and once you do, you notice how unnecessary it was.

  4. My big one is "was". Used it about 1100 times in my MS...whittled it down to about half...I was quite proud of that!

  5. Besides the name of the main love interest, it seems the biggest word in my word cloud is always asked.

    What the...?

    People apparently ask a lot of questions in my WIPs. Ugh!

  6. "Only" I have a mental tic with this word. Also infinitives, "to + base verb." To pull. To start.

  7. If I took those out of my posts, there wouldn't be anything left!

  8. I have a serious addiction to "just", that and then are also favorites of mine.

  9. "Look" is my foe. My characters love looking all over the place.

  10. Oooo, good list. I definitely need to do a search for some of those! lol

  11. Thanks for the great additions. I'll add them to my list.

    Lynnette Labelle

  12. I'm always careful not to use the passive voice, but I've noticed that with my hurry to complete the goal for NaNo, the word "was" is popping up a WHOLE lot. Looks like I'll be searching and destroying it come December!

  13. Well crops up a bit too much for me and the symbol ! I counted as I deleted 42 of the insidious little rascals! Opps! There I go again!Arghhh-