Bug-a-boo Words

Every author has them. Words that crop up repeatedly in their work that are overused.

Sometimes it might be a pet verb (get, could, would are popular choices).

Sometimes it’s a phrase. In my first draft of my first novel I was shocked to realize how may times my heroine said “Oh!” Yeah.

Then I had a book that had “then” everywhere. Then I had to go and do a search and replace and try to get rid of them.

Or how about so? I once made the mistake of doing a search and delete of every instance of so in my manuscript. Um, not wise. So is also in words like something, among others. I had done this with “very” as well with no so nice results because it is in eVERYthing as well. What a mess!

I have a bit of a problem with a little bitty phrase “a bit” that often pops up as well.

Now I have a list of words I try to eliminate after I’ve revised my novel and these are words I often look for in the work I edit as well. They include: felt, feel, feeling, just, then, a bit, so, very, always, often. Most of the time (oops, most should be on that list too) those words are unnecessary and can be deleted to clean up the text.

Then you get into the dreaded -ly adverbs. Or mixing -ing verbs with -ed ones. Or too many adjectives. Part of me wonders why we had to learn about all these words in school if we are only going to delete them in our writing.

A great free aid to help you in checking your writing is ProWriting Aid.

How about you? Do you find you have any pet bug-a-boo words that crop up in your writing? What are they?

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One thought on “Bug-a-boo Words

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