Actually/that/just/seems/kind of/a little

No, I didn’t forget to finish that sentence. Because it’s not a sentence. It’s a collection of words with which I am currently engaged in mortal combat.

Every writer has words like these, words they throw in all over the place which serve little purpose, words which can usually be cut to make the writing tighter. These are some of mine, and now that I’m in the final stages of my novel and I’ve done all the major cutting and rearranging and wailing and gnashing of teeth, it’s time for the small stuff. It’s time for these words to be hunted down and destroyed.

I’m not indiscriminate – some of them will stay. Some of them are there for good reason. But most of them are just lazy writing. Most of them can be deleted without a second thought. It probably sounds like a lot of work for not much gain, but taking a scythe to words like this can really smooth out my writing, and also substantially reduce my word count. When I find these words in abundance somewhere, there’s often more unnecessary padding around them, and I can end up cutting and re-shaping in those areas quite substantially.

So I’m nearly done with these words this time around. My next task is to take a look at how many times my characters sigh, shrug, smile and nod. Actually, that just seems kind of annoying …

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