• Dan

Words to Slay


choose words wisely image

I just finished my first round of edits for The Blood of Faeries. It's super exciting to work with my editor and experience my writing improving in leaps and bounds. This go around, I spent a good chunk of time searching the manuscript for overused words and phrases. It's an easy task with a modern word processor, but it's still time-consuming. Plus, how do you know what words and phrases to seek & destroy?


Wild Turkey by Dan 2022
Wild Turkey by Dan 2022

If a word or phrase is a real turkey, your editor will likely point it out to you. These

words should be exorcised from the manuscript with malice. I catch much verbosity by repeatedly rereading the manuscript until I feel like my eyeballs will fall out.


But you don't have to rely on your eyes alone to spot those bad words. There are numerous articles (and books!) listing the many words to remove from your manuscript. This article includes several useful lists of words to cut. I also happened upon a YouTube video calling out five to seven unnecessary words that show up all the time in writing. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to the video, but a quick Google search reveals scads of similar content.


Here are the most-wanted I put to the torch while editing The Blood of Faeries. I pruned a bunch of other words, but these darlings were the most prevalent.

  • God

  • Oh my God

  • Just

  • Glance

  • Gesture

Duckling by Dan 2022
Duckling by Dan 2022
  • Only

  • Quickly

  • Barely

  • Right

  • Good

  • More

  • Few

  • Sure

Some people utilize reports in applications like Scrivener to hunt down overused words and phrases. I haven't gone that route yet, but I know some people swear by the application. Is Scrivener (or the equivalent) in my future? I don't know. Maybe… I'm usually slow to change my routine, especially when I think it's working.


Have strong opinions on words to ban from manuscripts? Do you enjoy using Scrivener or some other specialized software? Let us know in the comments.

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