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.
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.