Author, Blogs, Editing, Self Publishing, Writing

Brett’s No-Fly Word List for Killer Editing


The process of editing is a little different for everyone, I suppose.  Because of my programming background, I focus on the syntax level and I really love tangibles.  Writing to me, is a lot like programming, though I’ll save that for another post, because it deserves it’s own explanation.

That said, I’ve decided to share one of my tools in my self-editing process that I shaped over the  last year and a half.  This list of words is something I stand by in my writing, but you can pick and choose which ones work for you, if any …

Must Go

Max 5 (Per 15,000 words)

  • Suddenly
  • Immediately
  • In Order To
  • Clearly
  • Probably
  • Obviously
  • Perhaps

Use Sparingly

Max 15 (Per 15,000 words)

  • Yet
  • Just
  • Only
  • Feel
  • Seem
  • Every
  • Never
  • Very
  • Really
  • Think
  • Big
  • Small

Whittle Down Numbers

Max 25 (Per 15,000 words)

  • Like
  • Very
  • Often
  • Almost
  • I’d
  • He’d
  • She’d
  • They’d

These Take the Longest

Max 60-80 (Per 15,000 words)

  • That
  • Had

I’ve forgotten the links where I found this collection of words, but you can google them if you choose.  It was not one specific place and I did my own version of cherry picking to match my style of storytelling.

I stand by this list I’ve compiled and I hope you can take something of use from it.

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