5 Words I've Banned Myself From Using

We all have words we use too much. Safety blanket words. Default words. What do we do with them? SMASH THEM. Come on, you knew I'd say that, didn't you? 

The last thing any writer wants to do is be redundant. So! Don't reuse a word too much. Don't let it be your fallback. Fresh writing is awesome writing.

Here are my top 5 words I need to smash

1. Worming
Not the actually muddy snake. The act of "worming". As in:
"She wormed towards the exit."
It use to be a "cool" word for me. The kind of "omg, look, I'm using this super creative word!" After I'd used it at least once. every. chapter...I started to realise it wasn't so cool. (Plus my critique partners crushed my dreams and told me to cut it.)

2. Flick
The amount of time my characters "flick their eyes". WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Flicking eyes...gosh.
Her eyes flicked across the room. 
It's a legit word. It's just a phrase I depended on way too much.

3. Whisper
If I had a dime for how often my characters whisper...I would have enough money for the enunciating classes we probably need. There are other ways to speak! For instance: SHOUTING.

Whisper is a fine and good word, but (like all these words) I use it far too much. I'm an advocate of using "said" instead of things like "grumbled" or "intoned" etc. But if I'm not using "said", I find I rely on things like "whisper". Show don't tell!

4. Almost
This is a filler word! You can usually cut it out. Plus using it constantly makes your writing feel undecided. Like you, the author, aren't even sure.

5. Started
Why "start" to do something when you can just DO it?
He started running. 
Noooo. Use:

He ran. 
Tighter. Less passive. AWESOME. I usually do a word-doc search on "started" or "starts" and see if they need eliminating or not.

Just remember: these words aren't necessarily bad words! Not all of them are weak or useless or redundant. They're just words I personally use too much. (Although I do recommend getting rid of "started". It's starting to bug me.) I like to be aware of them so I can smash them and make my writing better.

(And I'm not going to lie: these words always make me angry.)

What are some words YOU use too often? Let me know in the comments!

-- Hulk

I'm trying to be fabulous...I'm trying.


  1. I use the word "glance" way too often. My characters are always glancing at things or other characters, so when I edit my current WIP, I'll keep a lookout for the word "glance" and try to replace it with something more interesting. Worming? That sounds like a fabulous word. I'll have to try it out.


    1. Mwhaha. Be careful with "worming". (And for the record, I think it's an AWESOME word, I just apparently use it far too often. xD) Have fun smashing your glances.

      -- Hulk

  2. I use whisper too much. But my characters are always saying things they don't want other people in the vicinity to hear. What's another word I could use for that?

  3. I use 'really' way too much. Actually, I think it's just adverbs in general (bad Ashley, bad). Especially (agh! another one!) 'even' and 'just.' All the time. That and my characters are always 'looking.' Instead of just writing what they see, I have to make everybody knows that they've 'turned to look' at it first. :P