By David E. Sharp
Words make lousy crutches. Not only will they not keep you from hitting the floor if you're wobbly on your feet, they will also annoy your readers if you lean too heavily on them. In the editing process, crutch words are almost as invisible to writers as comma infractions, but they are vastly more irritating.
Even bestselling authors are not immune. I have only to find a new beta-reader if I want to hear, "Gosh, you're really fond of the word "dodecahedron," aren't you?" Who would have thought that three-dimensional geometric figures would come up so frequently in a dystopian cookbook?
How do we keep those crutch words from ruining our manuscripts?
Step 1: Admit You Have a Problem
You never see them till it's too late.
Unless you're a journalist or something. But you are figuratively burning bridges with your readership. And I can't sit here and watch you do this to yourself!
Great! Now that's out of the way, let's move on.