Words to Control + F

When in the process of splashing out words for a new story, we all find ourselves writing words we don’t need, repeating words, and being hacks in general. I’ve composed a list of these ‘filler’ words that I’ve found most often in my own work. Search for, and delete!

Very: Delete any that aren’t in dialogue.

Almost: Delete unless it is specifically necessary for a thing to almost be, instead of just being.

Nearly: same as above

Really: Delete if it’s being used as an adverb, unless in dialogue.

Still: When used to show something is continuing, you can delete it 90% of the time. To show something is motionless, often you can use a better word. (I bet you’ve used ‘still’ a dozen times for that already.)

Toward: Can almost always be changed to ‘at’ or ‘to’ or be removed.

Turn: My characters are constantly turning this way and that (even turning toward things!) and most of it is unnecessary.

Feel/felt: Jane felt the water lapping gently at her feet. versus The water lapped gently at Jane’s feet. The only reason to say feel/felt is if the character wasn’t feeling it before and now is, otherwise it is sort of taken for granted that they can feel it…

Watch/see/saw: Same as above. Unless there is a real need to make it clear that the something is visible to your character, it is kind of assumed that the viewpoint character can see what you are describing. Jane saw and heard the waves splashing, and felt them lap her toes. Seems silly now, right?

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