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.


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.


Source: Overused Words You Should and Shouldn’t Delete

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