10 Words to Cut From Your Manuscript

Filed in Ask the Editor, Writing Tips by on May 28, 2020 1 Comment

A common mistake my editing eye has picked up on is the use of filler words. These elongate your manuscript but don't advance your story. Here are 10 wor...

Editing your own writing will never be the easiest part of the writing journey, but knowing what to look for can make the task a whole lot simpler. Working with the publishing company Xulon Press for a decade now has taught me a lot to say the least. A common mistake my editing eye has picked up on is what I like to call the use of filler words. Excessive use of these words elongates your manuscript but does not advance your story. 

As a rule of thumb, avoid using words that end in -ly, such as quickly, readily, suddenly, and more. These words are adverbs and can be replaced with strong, active verbs. Do a scan of each of your chapters and only look for words that end in -ly. When you spot one, read the full sentence. Then, delete the word that ends in -ly and rework the sentence to include a verb.

Here are 10 more words you can cut from your manuscript without a lot of rewriting:

  1. Suddenly
  2. Then
  3. Very
  4. Really
  5. Just
  6. Somehow
  7. Seemed
  8. Definitely
  9. Was
  10. Thing/things

When it comes to writing, the words listed above are filler words. They do not communicate important details to the reader or advance your story.

Want to do a cool exercise? Use the search function in your writing software—normally Ctrl-F in PCs and Command-F in Macs—and search for each of the words above. The search results will tell you how many times each word appears in your manuscript and will take you directly to each instance. By doing this, you can speed through reworking the sentences with these words.

Want to learn more about editing services we offer? Call 1-866-381-2665 to be connected directly to one of our publishing consultants or visit our website XulonPress.com for more information.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author ()

Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on XulonPress.Substack.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *