Very, Really, Suddenly, Amazing, Awesome, That, Started: what do these words have in common? They should be avoided when writing.
This isn’t something I’d be too concerned with during a first draft, but when you go back to edit all the bad writing, these are the words to remove. We’ve all slipped them in from time to time because they’re overused in every day language.
After reading the post from Writer’s Circle, I recalled a passage where I used suddenly. It had been bothering me, but I couldn’t come up a worthwhile replacement word or phrase indicating the action. As soon as I finished reading, a workable solution presented itself. Some time away from my manuscript and this gentle reminder spurred my creativity to stretch beyond the commonplace.
One place I allow myself some leeway on using the seven, above-listed words is when writing dialog. Working in the court reporting industry taught me that even educated people don’t speak as well as they’d like to believe. Dialog sounds more realistic if is isn’t as perfect as prose.
I have noticed, however, that since I started writing, I make an effort to keep these words out of my conversation. I’d be lying if I said I never used one , but I can’t put everyone on pause and go back to clean up what I said. Until then, I’ll do my best to be very careful… Oops…
Also, don’t replace one bad word with another poor choice. I discovered that I replaced very with extremely much too often when speaking. What sounded good to my ear prompted yet another scan of my manuscript to ensure that I hadn’t done the same thing in my writing. I found five instances, and I’m currently in the process of editing them.
Another great thing about cleaning these words out of your writing is that it’s the first, small step to the editing process which often feels overwhelming. Getting rid of them provides a building block to better editing which in turn means better writing.