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Bad words...

First, so sorry I missed Monday's post. I promise there was good reason, which I hope to not jinx by posting about it, but let's just say it was a very pleasant surprise. :)

Now onto today's post. Today I want to talk about bad words, and I'm not talking about curse words. Curse words can actually be good words (when it comes to writing) if used selectively, and if they are appropriate for the story/MC.

For me, bad words are the words that drag down or weaken my prose. I have a list of words that I search out and destroy during revisions. Of course, some stay. My rule is that if the word is necessary to maintain voice then it stays, if it does not add to voice or the story then it's axed.


Looked (issue when overused)
Walked (issue when overused)
Past perfect combos: had + past participle
Passive tense: verb + -ed verb (though there are other examples)
Random Adverbs / Adjectives / Words
Kind of
The fact that
To be honest
What's your list of bad words? Do you allow them occasionally or cut out altogether? Share your writing profanity. :)


  1. I'm not sure if it's because of the voice my main character has taken on, but I overuse the word 'totally'. As do I 'really', 'definitely' and 'like'. I also seem to have a thing for 'eyes'. I need to use other body parts to suggest emotion other than eyes, heart, and stomach. It's so hard though! Oh, and as you know, don't get me started on 'was' :-)

    Have you ever tried this site? It's pretty handy:

    I was in a bit of denial about my 'totally' problem, until I stumbled across it via Scott Westerfeld's blog and made my own word cloud!

  2. Just created a word cloud and it seems I have issues with "eyes" as well! :)

  3. Ohhhhh. "seemed" and "appeared."

    Apparently my MCs are so dense they're never sure of anything. I have to go through and make them smarter each draft. :) I love when I see things like "It seemed cold." I want to be like, "You don't know!? Either you're cold or you aren't! How can it *seem* cold!?" hehe

  4. "now," "then," "sure," and a preponderance of
    -ing words. That's why I love the FIND search feature. Use it all the time! Great post, by the way...

  5. Amanda -- LOL! I know what you mean.
    Kenda -- Yes to -ing! I have a love/hate relationship with -ing words and sure enough my descriptions are loaded with them.

  6. Melissa, that's a good idea using the word cloud to check the most used words.

    But ha, I already know that I LOVE using two words: "just" and "definitely" --- they are my favorites.

  7. I've noticed myself using "was" a lot in the revision of my WIP, because it's MG and I'm trying to keep my sentences short. "But" is another one I overuse, but I'm watching for that one.


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