Here’s a little advice that I take myself regularly because although I love words, there are some words I don’t like much. They are:
THAT – mainly superfluous. Reread a sentence and if it sounds right without that word – leave it out.
ALWAYS – it’s rarely true, so find another word.
ABSOLUTELY – often redundant.
AMAZING – if everything is amazing, nothing is.
REALLY – used to modify a verb or adverb and there is no need to use it. E.g. really beautiful could be stunning.
NEVER – rarely true, so find another word.
DONE – use something different e.g. completed, finished, carried out.
JUST – weed this filler out.
WENT – instead use drove, walked, ran, flew – you get the idea.
VERY – lazy way of making your point. Very sad could be depressed. Very happy could be ecstatic. Use the thesaurus on the Internet if you can’t think of an alternative.
SUDDENLY – everything happens suddenly, so it’s 99.9% superfluous.
Another tip. If you feel you are over-using a word or phrase, carry out a search function of your finished novel to find out the frequency. That way you can change the text where necessary and make it stronger.
A useful list Janine. I would include the word THEN. I recently read a short story where nearly every line began Then… it was dire. We were taught there is no such word as very! Happy writing.
I will now be on the lookout for ‘then’. Carol once said I overused the word ‘too’ and when I did a word search I was able to remove a whole heap of them.
Just and that are mine, Also and I’ve discovered recently, thanks to my editor. 🙂 Oh and I love dashes too 🙂