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Yes, You Do Need to Kill Your Darlings
It’s Just So Very Important

Oh, how I loved that story. I thought it was the shiniest thing in town, and I presented it to my creative writing teacher with great pride.

The next day, she handed it back to me.

She’d red-circled every time I used the word “so”—dozens and dozens of the darn things.

Ouch.

We’re all guilty of having favorite go-to words, and often, they’re the same ones other writers dearly love.

So. Just. Very.

Or we’ll fall in love with a pretty new adjective and will unconsciously use it over and over.

Trust me: you’re doing it.

How do you find them, other than by racking your brain, or scanning the pages over and over?

Use a word cloud. Within a few seconds, you’ll have a multi-colored picture of the offending tidbits. Just Google the words “word cloud” to find a site that will generate a cloud for you. Then, do your best to stop saying things like:

He just really wanted to show her his new car.

Your readers will thank you.

Okay, maybe not, but you’ll know you’ve taken another step toward better storytelling.

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