Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mysti's Overused Words

Here is a short list of some of my most overused words. You tend to notice these things when you get down to the final edit of a 44-chapter novel. Thought I'd share the words I'm trying to eradicate:

  1. managed to
  2. swallowed hard
  3. up
  4. looked
  5. walked
  6. that
  7. saw
  8. felt
  9. heard
  10. Leading participial phrases, such as: "Turning my head, I saw Cali's face beside mine." (This one has both a leading participial phrase AND the word saw.)

None of these words are bad and I'm not saying they should never be used. I'm far from being a writing expert, but I like to share what I learn as I go. Any of these, used too often, can weaken the narrative and make it read as too repetitive or redundant.

Like "stand up", for instance. You don't need the "up". If you stand, of course, you're moving UP, so it's redundant to use them both together.

Please feel free to share your own overused words and tips to eliminate them to make for cleaner writing.


  1. Here's a couple more to add to the list (from my overused words to avoid)

  2. Ooo, I'll do a search for those too. I think I've become more aware of those particular ones during the writing process and try to avoid. It's funny how we all have our different weaknesses when it comes to words like that.


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