Monday, July 18, 2011

Beware, Teachers, and Writers of Mass Distraction

Good morning fellow bloggys! I thought this morning I’d share a list of words my critique group refers back to for help. These are words you all need to beware of. Our one critter is a professional editor. Her favorite thing to say is “This is what separates a professional writer from an amateur.”

The one thing I’ve noticed about these words when I read them in my own manuscript is they can make your sentences clunky or boring.

Here’s the first list:

as     just     had     that     then     very     with     always     some     over     could  

would     finally     suddenly     quickly     I     managed     only     first met     quite 

a bit     peered     placed     however     therefore

You can run a find on these words, highlight, and rewrite your sentences if need be. EASY-PEASY!

The second list:

saw     heard     decided      noticed     remembered     realized      felt    

thought      watched

These words are known as filters. If your character is doing any of these words, you can describe what they’re seeing, hearing, etc. EASY-PEASY!

And for the third list:

draped     adorned      accentuated     complimented     punctuated

sported     secured     completed     enhanced     graced     6 ft frame

These words are your HARLEQUIN words. They’re okay for bodice rippers but not okay for other genres.  EASY-PEASY

Also, I’d like to turn your attention to five different bloggy friends’ blogs. I admire their ability to teach in the written word-not an easy task.

The great word teachers are:

Lynda Young @

Annette Gendler @

Lesley Smith @

Silvia Ney @

The Queen of English @

To end my post today, I’d like to introduce a new group put on by published and unpublished writers. They’re taking a stand against the evils befalling the self-published and Indie authors.

Power to the Indies!

Those of us who aren’t published yet may consider going this route and we’ll need all the support we can get.

Check out:

Writers of Mass Distraction @

They’re causing chaos in the literary world.

Anybody have any other words to add to the list? Anyone have a favorite teaching blog about writing? Anyone know of any other groups supporting the self-published? Please share.

That’s all for now folks!

Happy blogging, reading, and writing!



  1. Getting rid of the word "I" is impossible if you are writing first person. It will be in there somewhere. But I do recommend limiting the use as much as possible.

  2. @Kelly: Yes. Too many 'Is' is difficult to eliminate from first person prose but it is possible.

  3. That's really awesome. I'm bad about using "just" too much. And I really like the list of filters! What a great way to make sure you're showing not telling!

  4. I don't know, Shelly....I still like all those words I'm not supposed to use...LOL

  5. I love lists, and this one is very helpful. I think I use Just way too much...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  6. Easy-Peasy--I wish. Love your post and thanks for the tips!

  7. Thanks for the lists. They're certainly something to take into consideration when writing/editing.

  8. Crap. My WIP just went from 90K words down to 40. Sigh.

  9. Shelly, thanks for all those words to watch out for. This means I'm going to have to go through my manuscript with a fine tooth comb again. Also, I appreciate you pointing out a few hit blogs...will check them out. Power to the Indies? Yes. My blogger friend over at Magickless is going this route. Awesome! I wish him the best. Nothing like a bit of chaos to stir the pot just right. :)

  10. To all: I'm always glad to help.

  11. Really and well are my words.

    The WMDs rock!!!

  12. @Norma: Really? Oh well...And, ditto.

  13. I have my own huge list of word (pretty much the same ones on your list) printed out on a sheet of paper as well as in a word document. With each manuscript I go through a search for each and every word, and also parts of words such as "ing" and "ly". Very tedius, but it ultimately makes my work better.

    and well, really: The WMD's rock.

  14. Very useful post! Oops, I said very...

  15. Oh crikey ! I'm definitely a super-amateur after reading these lists ... but they are really helpful ! Thanks for sharing , Shelly !

  16. I saw a number of mine, but didn't see:
    even, so, eyes, moved/walked
    Phrase: I saw that

    Those are some of my badies.

    And, yes, if you work in 1st person, hard to eliminate "I"
    And I'd rather someone peer, or gaze than look.
    Good post, hon.

  17. Awesome word list, I need to either bookmark this post, or just cut 'n paste it.

  18. To OZMA, Charmaine, MISH, Lorelei, and Doc: Glad to always help my fellow writers.


  19. Love, love this post. Yep, I use alot of this words. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these- I wrote down all of these words in my workbook. Love your blog!

  20. Love your words. And the link. Thanks.

  21. @Russo and Donna: Thanks for stopping by.


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