Not all words are created equal. In fact, the word wizards at Writer’s Relief know that certain words can make your short story, essay, poetry, or book weaker and less engaging for readers. To make sure your work is the best it can be, here are some of the words you should stop using in your writing.
Words You Should Stop Using In Your Writing—Now
Ambiguous words will lose the reader’s attention. Eliminate these or replace them with more accurate word choices. Here are examples:
“Glory needed solid research to finish her essay on mutant tarantula venom, so she went to the library.”
Went is the catch-all term for traveling to another destination. Consider how someone might travel and use that word instead. Did your character jog, take the bus, or drive? Using the word for the exact mode of transportation helps draw the reader into the scene.
“Nurse Meaghan calmed some of the patients.”
Some refers to an unspecified amount. Who or what are the “some” being referred to? Identify the answer to this question, then be specific in your writing. Did the nurse calm elderly patients, or six maternity patients, or patients suffering from the effects of mutant tarantula venom?
The extra, superfluous words we toss into our descriptions and dialogue can easily be removed to create direct, definitive statements in our writing. Here are examples:
“I just can’t look at you right now! You’re covered with boils from the mutant tarantula venom!”
Just sneaks its way into our writing because we use it so often in our everyday conversations. But it is unnecessary to the statement above. “I can’t look at you right now!” is direct and gets the point across—the oozing boils are unsightly.
“It was rather cold on the evening of the grand ball, which kept away the mutant tarantulas.”
Rather doesn’t provide any additional details or add to the richness of imagery. This word can be replaced with an adjective (It was bitterly cold) or dropped altogether (It was cold).
“I feel hunting the mutant tarantula monsters will be challenging and fun.”
Feel is unnecessary because by making the statement, it is implied that you (or the character) are describing how you feel. It is sufficient to say, “Hunting the mutant tarantula monsters will be challenging and fun”—you don’t need “I feel” to qualify your statement. Although, your idea of what qualifies as “challenging and fun” does seem a bit odd. Venom-spewing mutant tarantulas can be very tricky to capture.
Learning to write without using these filler words takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself! Using these writing tips will help you develop the habit of either removing weak words or replacing them with stronger options—and you’ll see how much better your short story, poem, essay, or book can be!
Question: What words can be eliminated from your writing?