16 Words that try to but in and ruin my writing

Just downloaded ’14 prompts by Joe Bunting’ and read through. I hope Joe will excuse me if I start at the back :- Prompt 14: You have to write something you’re not an expert in. You have to begin the novel you aren’t ready to begin. You have to write the blog post that is immature and incomplete.  Ok. Thanks Joe.

When I write, I just write. Door closed and the door in my head that contains my inner critic firmly closed too. Makes for a few typos, and obviously needs huge amount of editing, but worst of all are the ‘verbal tics’ that pop up all over the place. Words that I don’t even know I’m typing. Words that mean nothing, or worse, that qualify what I want my writing to say. So I thought I would share with you today the words that pepper my fiction and which have to be deleted or at least thought hard about each time I write. Doesn’t mean I can’t use them, but using them has to be a choice and most of the time I know my writing is better without them.

Do you do this? Are there words you use that lessen the power of your writing? (I know there is a ‘that’ in the sentence, but I did delete the one between ‘words’ and ‘you’!)

  1. Stuff (this is my worst offender and never necessary)
  2. Just
  3. Very
  4. Nearly
  5. Almost
  6. Rather
  7. Seem
  8. Feel (sometimes not necessary)
  9. Few
  10. About (qualifying)
  11. Like (as when we’re speaking, not necessary)
  12. That (unnecessary in most places)
  13. Anyway
  14. Only
  15. Really
  16. Thing

Would love to hear your list if you have one.

Thanks for reading if you have been.



7 responses to “16 Words that try to but in and ruin my writing

  1. Thank you oneanna65. Glad you like it. Be good to hear your list.

  2. Candace Knoebel

    My biggest offender would be adding “that” more often than needed. Thank you for sharing this travesty of over-used words. As writers, we should all keep this bountiful heap of knowledge in the back of our minds!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. My Beta calls them Weasel Words and I get a big WW anywhere they crop up. I used to be really bad. ;p Under his not-so-gentle-guidance I’ve gotten much, much better. Death to Weasel Words!

  4. Mine are ‘just’, ‘rather’ and ‘really’. They are like gremlins that sneak in without me knowing. But I wouldn’t really worry about them – they are just rather annoying. (That’s why we edit our work!)

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