Self-Editing Checklist of Overused Words

Are you writing a novel? See if you’ve got these plot elements in your First Act, and follow along on my blog for Acts Two and Three.

act_one

Are you revising your novel? Here’s the first half of my checklist of overused words.

  1. A lot
  2. Again
  3. Almost
  4. And
  5. As
  6. At least
  7. Back
  8. Be
  9. Began/Begin
  10. Breath(e)
  11. Brow/eyebrow
  12. But
  13. Even
  14. Eye
  15. Feel/Felt
  16. Gasp
  17. Glance
  18. Going
  19. Had
  20. Hair
  21. Has
  22. Head
  23. Hear
  24. Instead
  25. Is
  26. It
  27. It is (was/would/had)
  28. Just
  29. Know
  30. Laugh
  31. Like
  32. Look
  33. Of Course

For the rest of the list, divided into the following categories…

  • Adverbs / Prepositions—use in moderation
  • Signs of Weak Verbs—can you make the verb stronger?
  • Signs of Wordiness—cut all excess words
  • Repeated Descriptions / Actions—use in moderation
  • Repeated Pronouns—make sure the antecedent, the word they refer to, is clear
  • Filtering Language—deliver rather than present information
  • Overused by Characters / Narrator—watch sentence beginnings, especially

…click the image below.

overused-words

Source: Overused Words You Should and Shouldn’t Delete

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