Crutch Words

They say there are two things you should never see being made: sausage and laws. I think novel writing might be another. My first drafts are always remarkably unattractive objects. Making it right is all in the rewriting, of course. When I revise a first draft, one of the first things I do is get rid of the crutch words. These are filler words and phrases that I use way too often in the white heat of creativity. I get too comfortable with them and they proliferate through the manuscript like flies at an August picnic. They are mantras in a way, lulling me into the creative frame of mind. Or so I sometimes flatter myself. What they really are is excess fat that needs to be trimmed and pronto. Here are my crutch words from the book I’m revising right now, Art Saves Lives:

weird
guess
just
like
really
ok
neat
gross
pretty much
super
they just didn’t
stuff
actually
figure
figured
figures
kind of
super
think

One thing about computers, they make crutch words a lot easier to delete: just use the search feature, and voila! There they are, highlighted in glowing yellow, just begging to be dispatched.

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