When editing, I eventually get down to my 'List of Annoying Words' which I plug into my search box one by one and try to eliminate or change and, although, this is a personal thing, I thought writers who love to overwrite (like myself) might find it useful.
'Past'- why? because I seem to interchange 'passed' and 'past' on whim.
'Answered'- to replace or eliminated he/she 'answered' where possible
‘seemed’- because most often, things don’t ‘seem’ that way, they ARE that way
‘Sudden’- because any phrase that starts with ‘Suddenly’ isn’t so sudden
‘But’- I use this to start phrases all the time so I’m trying to change it where possible and evit run on’s in certain cases
‘Just then’- same reason as ‘suddenly’-plus, phrases are stronger when we’re thrown into the action
Anything ending in ‘LY’- this is mostly for my unnecessary adverbs. See this link.
‘Sort’- It’s not a ‘sort’ of rock. It is a rock.
‘Somewhat’- again. Like being ‘somewhat’ pregnant. You either are, or you aren’t.
‘And’- to limit my adjectives. ‘It was large and magnificent’- I need to pick one. And to evit run on’s once again.
‘Found’- she found herself feeling. He found himself thinking. They found themselves standing. Why is everyone always ‘finding themselves’? ugh!
‘Said’- ‘Yes’ she said. ‘Why?’ he said. ‘Because.’ He said. Or ‘Yes.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because.’
‘Felt’- ‘She felt a rumbling in her stomach’ becomes ‘Her stomach rumbled.’
‘Began’- ‘The ground began to shift. They were beginning to get frightened.’ Becomes ‘The ground shifted under their feet. They cried out, frightened.
‘Herself’- again. ‘asked herself’ ‘told herself’ ‘thought to herself’ ‘HATED herself!?’
‘Themselves’- same thing
‘Could be seen’ – ‘The boys could be seen standing by the water.’ Becomes ‘The boys stood by the water.’
These are all words that I picked up on over and over again througout my manuscript and they drove me nuts. So I hope compiling this list might help others who make the same mistakes as me. All the time.