Before I get to this series, I have to say something~ ALL OF YOU rock my world! The blogfest yesterday was Fantastic. So many great new lines! So many participated. Thank you all so Fairy much for sharing this experience with me.
Ahem...now back to today's post :)
Yes you might have heard of some of these, but perhaps not all of them, and definitely not my take on them.
When I critique someones story or paper there is always a first step-
I start with words.
Sometimes it is difficult to get to the idea of someones writing whether it be an English essay or a story from a fellow writer. Words clutter pages, sometimes too many words, sometimes not enough.
Usually too many. So the first thing I do is look for these 9 words in their entire piece:
was, it, then, and, that, feel, got, very, and just.
These words are on my top nine scratch out list. Here is what I know about these words from countless English classes and critique groups.
Was - use this word sparingly. If "was" is used too often, it defeats the purpose. Scratch "was" out wherever you can. Often sentences can be reworded to eliminate "was" and then you will have a stronger sentence. There is only one use I have found that this word is used satisfactory with - metaphors. If you have used a metaphor and "was" is included, then keep it. If you would like more detail on this word check out one of my previous posts for ideas: Action packed
It - This word is used best as a reference word, referring back to an idea or object. This word should also be used sparingly. Watch how many times you use it and really examine if the word "it" is needed to convey your idea or thoughts. Take "it" out where you cannot justify the use.
Then - Many times writers and students use "then" as a transition word. Problem is sometimes it is a filler word and is weak with its meaning. This word should be cut out when "then" refers to time, location, or list characteristics. Basically if you have started a sentence with "Then" and the sentence can stand alone without the word in it, take it out. (further information at the bottom of the page)
And - The biggest issue I have seen with this word is starting a sentence with "And." Starting a sentence with "and" is a common mistake in early writing stages. Put two sentences together if you must use "And", but most often just cut it out if your sentence begins with "and" then replace it with a different word if you need to.
That - This word is a filler word. Use with cation. Most of the time you can easily cut this word from the sentence without having to reword. "That" is unneeded in writing and I know we as writers can come up with something better if we need to in order to make or work show through better.
Feel - Many fiction writers know this word is not a good word to use to describe a feeling. It tells instead of shows. Take out any "feel" or "felt" words from your writing and instead describe what is being felt to improve your writing.
Got - This word is nondescript. It shows nothing and tells nothing. Take it out- it serves no purpose in writing.
Very - simply take it out unless you have an extreme circumstance that the word is strictly needed. Its a modifier for other words, but isn't really a value. (further information at the bottom of this page)
Just - This word is nine time out ten unneeded. "Just" is a filler word, take it out and move forward.
In our normal everyday lives we talk with these words, but that does not mean we should use them in our writing. If you have dialogue where a character talks using these words, okay leave them, but ultimately they botch up what you are writing instead of making it look good or giving something to what you have written.
If you would like more to look at on words to avoid, take a look at this site for further information: www.tameri.com
Tune in next Thursday for the second installment of this series called "Shine" where I will discuss more word usage and action usage.