Filler words are my Helen of Troy: stunning, alluring, married to a judgmental tyrant. Though I know they’ll wreak havoc in my work, they seduce and tempt me. I’m unable to let these go, like those deranged seagulls from Nemo screaming “MINE!” while doing nothing to advance the plot.
When I edited Echoes of Blood
, a ton of these word mites burrowed into my prose. I deleted something like 20,000 filler words alone (damn you, Helen of Troy). So, in order to avoid another Trojan War, I made a list to purge after drafting. I then attack my manuscript with merciless deletion and ruthless mocking of myself while armed with a beer, a fistful of jelly beans, and a bucket of nachos to stave off self-deprecation.
Everyone’s filler words (and crutch words) are different, and grammar is fluid, not prescriptive. I am NOT telling anyone how to write or edit, but if you’re like me and just can’t get enough justs, like totally, then maybe, perhaps, this could help. It’s also a great way to “auto edit,” to quantify the amorphous mass of creativity into something more structured. Making this list has saved me hours in the editing dungeon, so I figured I’d share it to aid you in some sharpened-toothbrush word-shanking.
Note that I don’t always delete all of the filler words, but I make sure there isn’t an egregious amount. For instance, I only use twelve scowls instead of two hundred…hypothetically…