When I started my writing career the first story I wrote was about a fairy. It quickly grew into a MG novel. Of course, I sent it to my critique group and one of them who shall remain unnamed except for the moniker of “The Slasher” (he knows who he is) had a field day. He cut paragraphs. He crossed out sentences, but what he slashed the most were “useless words.”
Through his thorough and thoughtful critiques I learned NOT to use the word “that.” It ran freely through my pages. Needless to say, it no longer does. In fact, since then I’ve become more conscious of these “useless words.” They still sneak into my writing and I’m sure they are hidden in yours.
This month I’m busy revising my YA novel. On the hunt for “useless words” I’ve cut the count by 1,000, with one half of the novel yet to feel the word scythe.
Try it. It makes your work tighter and your story more engaging. Here are the words I’ve cut so far:
Almost, actually, about, that, suddenly, only and just.
Once I’ve finished my revision I’ll come back with more.