19 over-used words that are banned in the first 10 pages

Some words sneak up on us. We end up using them more than we should. The trouble is, everyone else loves using them too. Break the habit. Don’t use the following in the first 10 pages:

1. Suddenly

Actions speak louder than words. No need to state the obvious when an abrupt change occurs.

2. Obviously

If it is so obvious, the reader will work it out.

3. At the end of the day

What, the sun goes down? Beware the figure of speech that keeps popping up in print. You can do better than that.

4. A lot

Always two words, never one. Cease and desist. Don’t use “a lot” in the first 10 pages or later, ever. Think hard about what you want to say: I like you a lot or I love you?

5. Totally

This word is no longer totally awesome, it’s exhausted. Rest in peace.

6. Epic

The word has been trending too much. Epic fail.

7. Inner goddess

E. L. James laid claim to these two words and churned them out page (after page, after page) in Fifty Shades of Grey. We must never read these words again.

8. Very

You are padding out a sentence and you know you are.

9. Trust me

Used often in dialogue. Would you trust someone who said that?

10. Like

The word has been worked to death in casual conversation. Now “like” is so, like, yesterday.

11. Secret

We all have secrets. No need to spell them out, create suspense instead.

12. A look of desperation

Portray desperation through dialogue, not a description.

13. Adorable

One of those sickly sweet words. Never add too much sugar to the first 10 pages.

14. Hilarious

It might be amusing but probably not even that. Unless it is hysterically funny, the reader will be laughing at you, not with you.

15. Breathlessly

Get the character’s breathing under control otherwise call an ambulance.

16. Really

It is tempting to use this word for emphasis but it can get repetitive.

17. Just

Just as well; just in case; just about; just in time; just great; just now;  just don’t, okay?

18. Literally

This word can go horribly wrong when used in the non-literal sense – for emphasis or exaggeration. “I literally died laughing.” Dead or just a wee bit dead? Never confuse the reader.

19. Always

Over to Oscar Wilde for this one. “Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.” The Picture of Dorian Gray

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