The fighter pilot excise of those mousy little words

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Working diligently through my current WIP, I find that I’m honing in on and attacking specific words, busting them off the page like a fighter pilot. These pesky words are triggers for me that I’m not happy with the sentence they find themselves inhabiting. Little cancer cells of a healthy body of work, they are. There’s nothing wrong with the words, they’re innocent and they have a right to be there. I just don’t like them. The list of excised words includes these mousy little culprits below. I’m interested to know if you have a similar list. Add your culprits in the comments below. There’s also a list of favourite words that I like to include in every MS just for the fun of it, words like GUSTO, but I only include them once, let’s not get carried away, and that list is for another day.
















6 thoughts on “The fighter pilot excise of those mousy little words

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  1. Yes, totally understand this as I work through my own WIP. ‘Seems’ is one of my worst culprits. I also want to kill off ‘think’ and ‘thought’ since I’m writing in first person and it is self-evident the main character is ‘thinking’. They still creep in though.


    1. Yes, Catherine, they slip in there unnoticed if we’re not paying attention. Coffee is needed! ‘I think’ always reminds me of politicians monologue. Often see it on Q and A Monday nights. I think…blah blah.


  2. Do you know ‘One of our St Bernard Dogs is Missing’ (it’s by N. F. Simpson, quoted in David Crystal’s Encyclopedia of the English Language)? Very funny and very effective repetition of the speech verb ‘said’ throughout. I don’t know if you can find the whole text online; well worth reading.


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