My #$@&* Bad Words

kicking.I’ve been searching for bad words in my manuscript, one at a time. It’s exhausting work, because there are a lot, and I must decide which can stay and which must go. Hint: they’re all verbs.

Sometimes I decide the word is right for the situation, and sometimes I see its phrase or sentence adds nothing and can be struck. Often, though, I recognize that the word is a placeholder for a better expression. And of course rewriting takes time. I have to think deeper–what’s happening here? Does the character have to do that? Would another action or observation add more?

The words aren’t bad in themselves, but the search shows how I’ve over-relied on them.




What are your bad words?

9 thoughts on “My #$@&* Bad Words”

  1. Great post! My problem is with adverbs: “really” and “very.” Fortunately, all I have to do is find them and delete them.

  2. Be careful when you delete sentences — they may have importance to the story that you just don’t remember this second. (That even happened to JK Rowling, supposedly. An editor wanted a change and she said “why not” — and only afterward did she remember why she should have kept it!)

    Among my bad words: went, was, heard. I use “heard” too much. But I think I’m pretty good at the verb thing. Remember Jenny NASCARing through traffic? Heh heh…

  3. ‘Looked’ is a biggy for me. I have characters forever looking at each other. He looked at me and said, so I looked right back and said. Argh. And ‘about’ – think that’s a Welshy thing though. We use ‘about’ a lot so it ‘seems’ and not just for ‘looking’ about either. See what I’m doing? Oh never mind.

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