When you’re editing your book and trying to make it tighter, you should be checking for “crutch words”, among many other things. These are words clutter up our book with stuff that doesn’t matter. They are the words and phrases that don’t add anything to your book. We all know about them.

Some common “crutch words” are; went, quite, is/was/were, very, actually, really, have/had, so anyway could/should/would, and almost. Often these words are also repeated throughout the book.Not sure if you’re using them?Do a word check, or when editing read your draft or read it out loud, you’ll notice those that keep showing up. You may find after reading them several times they become irritating to you, much like they would to your readers.

Once you become aware of the “crutch words” go through the book and look at each one. Are they adding anything to the meaning of the sentence? Do they enhance the story? Can you remove the word without changing the story? Can you replace it with an active verb?    In most cases, for me, I find I can delete it and nothing in the story changes. Or I may be able to replace it with a more descriptive word, something that might add to a description or an action.When you’re finished your book should be a few words shorter and a little tighter.

I’d love to hear if you use “crutch words”and how you handle them.