Writing: My Hit List

(The word cloud used as the image for this post was generated from my sci-fi short story Dissolution, which you can read here.)

Every writer has a list of words or phrases they hate. This post contains my personal list of 63 phrases I avoid because I feel they weaken my writing. I am no expert, so don’t take this post as gospel. Nevertheless, this list has helped me, so I thought I would share it. I have compiled this list over the past few years based on personal preferences, plus feedback from editors, beta readers, and fellow writers. Note, I primarily use this list when writing and editing fiction.

To avoid repetition, I grouped similar phrases together in the table below. I then gave each phrase a rating:

  • Black: Total ban. I will rework the sentence to remove these phrases 100% of the time.
  • Red: Avoid whenever possible. I will do my best to remove these phrases, but if there is a good reason for them to stay, so be it.
  • Amber: Beware. I will check to see if my use of these phrases indicates a weak sentence.

I have included a comment beside each item explaining its inclusion on the list.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments. Continue reading Writing: My Hit List