The Secret To The Quickest Edit You Can Do

Quickest Edit

I have these awful words that plague me. I call them crutch words.

‘Crutches’ are pesky words that appear when I am in the zone writing a first draft.

They creep like monsters at midnight into my work…over and over and over again. They are an annoyance, an irritation, a PLAGUE on my prose!

The most frustrating thing about crutches is that they are ‘go to’ words. By that, I mean, I don’t even realise I am using them, they are salient in my mind so throw themselves at my metaphorical stage like school girls at a Take That concert. UGH.

So how do you fix them?

Until recently I spent hours trawling through my work to ensure there aren’t dozens of repetitions littered through my text.

I’ll be brave and confess my crutch words. Although, I have to say, they do change depending on what I am writing. But a recent piece included things like: Look, eyes, so and deep.

Do you have crutch words? Do you know what they are? If so, what are they? Tell me in the comments below.

Sadly, I have only recently discovered this crutch related mishap. I realised when I was using a nifty little tool called wordle.

You paste any text you like into Wordle and it counts all the times you repeat particular words. It then creates a visual image depicting all of the most repeated words.

In the picture the words that are repeated most often are the most prominent. So, the larger the word, the more repetitions there were.

And in true Blue Peter style, here’s one I made earlier:

Wordle 1

I used a character exploration exercise I did a few weeks ago for this wordle.

The benefits of this tool are fivefold:

  1. It highlights your repetitive crutch words and therefore repetitive description
  2. It highlights NEW crutch words
  3. It shows you your text visually – which demonstrates whether you are getting your message across – it’s a visual of your texts meaning
  4. They look neat, and you can mess about with the colour schemes and layouts
  5. Once you have done a wordle and can see all the repetitions you can go back to your word processor and use the find and delete mechanism to remove those pesky words

Here’s a wordle of this post:


Wordle 2

Try it out, let me know what you think.


      1. Yeah, that’s true. My novel is written in first person I bet a lot of the crutch words would be “I,” “me/my,” etc. I think I may try both ways just to see the difference.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking forward to using it on my very next post and everything else I write. I have a short story I’m publishing on my blog next week and I’ll be seeing what Wordie comes up with for that before I press the publish button. It’s such a wonderful, easy, friendly editing tool to use

        It’s such a great share, Sacha. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ooh, well tweet me when your stories out, I would love to read it 🙂 and you are more than welcome – I love sharing the golden nuggets I find – thats what’s so great about the writing community – the willingness to share and grow together 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will, thanks Sacha. It’s a very quick read. One of the shortest stories I have written.

        I’ve also launched a blog hop party today which is taking place all weekend. I hope you will be able to join in and spread some blog loving’ with me and my blogging community. We are looking for introductions to other fun loving bloggers, so if you do know any then please come and let us know.

        Let me know if you want me to send you over the link on here or Twitter, and I will.

        Have a great weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This was amusing; just for fun, I pasted in the manuscript file from my first novel, Disciple of Grief the only word in big text that wasn’t a main character’s name was “just.” And the character names were significantly bigger. I think that means I must be doing okay. XD

    And that I have to go hack out “just…” Now to see what my other manuscripts say… hmmm. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hehe!! you are definitely doing well if that is your only crutch word. I wonder if it would show the same thing if you cut all the names out? It’s such a fascinating tool. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and good luck with the next novel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I get a chance I’m going to poke it some more, since I think you can tell it to ignore certain terms; if not, I’ll do a search/replace for the main names and make them all “Rodentia” or something, see what that does to it. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a long list of crutch words. Top of the list is ‘just’. My characters do an awful lot of smiling, too. Thanks for sharing information about Wordle. Just can’t wait to start using it. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s funny but although I have a couple of core ones, mine do tend to change depending what type of thing I am writing, but you can be sure that I will definitely have plenty of them! Thank you for stopping by and reading and taking the time to comment. Let me know how it goes for you. 🙂


    1. lol oh dear… well at least there is always ‘find and replace?!’ or delete? Crutch words are the bane of my life! Out of interest, how did you discover your list? As I only found mine through wordle, so I am fascinated to hear your method? 🙂


      1. I came across a great list of weak, crutch and wimpy words some years ago. Since then, I’ve deleted some words that don’t seem to be a problem and added others. I go though the entire manuscript, “find” each one! And look for an alternative (or just delete it). Takes forever. I tried the wordless. Very helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ahhh, fantastic, I may have to do a google, thats a great thought to create a list, maybe I will just collect all the ones I seem to use and then keep the list with me when I write so I don’t put them in there in the first place. But then again, like you say I might just end up adding others! haha.


  3. This is very very useful to me! LOL! I think my crutch words are basic ones in terms of narration. Probably a bunch of ones I shouldn’t use.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Keep trying to run it but it’s blocking the java plugin and I can’t even download it. I’m finding more and more Chrome is just bloated beyond usability, along with the new Office preview on the mac, and essentially all the Adobe suite programs. Which unfortunately is what I use on a daily basis. LOL! I’ll just see if I can find a similar service somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OHHHH NO. I have to say I did have issues when I switched to mac. But I managed to download the Java plug in and it was fine. Works fine on my mac now. I wonder if you can download the Java direct from them?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I used the word “smirked ” way too often in my last book, especially considering I never say it in real life. I did a purge during editing and now I’m hyper aware of this crutch.
    Wordle sounds interesting and I like the graphics it produces. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ahhhh ‘smirked’ yep, that’s come up for me once in a short story I wrote. Damn crutch words. I wish I was consistent with mine, but they change depending on what I write! Although I do have some regulars! thanks for stopping by, reading and taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bugger. Why oh why did you do this to me? Look, Like, Just and Thought. In my latest book. I’m scarred. Now I’ve a parasitic Wordle sitting on my bloody shoulder every time I write chirruping ‘Can’t use that, can’t use that…’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Can you stop being so funny! I now regularly look like a right weirdo looking at my phone laughing out loud to myself! and my laugh is not quiet! sorrrrrrrrrrry!! lol, but maybe you will forgive me when a quick Ctrl + F followed by a hasty replace or delete cuts your editing time down :p. ‘parasitic??? hahahahahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I LOVE this wordle thing – am going to explore, thanks – and will cringe at all the ‘just’ ‘always’ ‘oh’ ‘really’ ‘seriously’ etc etc!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sacha. Silver Threading reposted this and it’s fabulous. I did a wordle on my first chapter and spent two hours taking “like” out of a memoir ms. Whew! Great tool! I’m reposting on my site too. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😊 what I like doing too is a before and after – once u edited…because it’s visual u can see the difference you have made. Hope it works for you – I’m picking up my first novel and starting to edit tonight – any tips?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good idea! I’ll give it a whirl. One tip for returning to your story to edit: Read it through just once — like a reader, not a writer. Give yourself a chance to enjoy it, and also to see where it flags, where your mind drifts (if it does…), and where it doesn’t. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I started reading actually. But it’s bloody awful! Haha, wish I had been pleasantly surprised by its even worse than I feared! To be fair it was half done in NaNo and the second half is considerably better! But still it’s horrifying the amount of work there is to do. *cries into pillow* I’m hoping after a good first edit it will be much better and I’ll be much happier though 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well I am only about 15% through reading it, but I learnt an awful lot about how to write after I wrote the first 50% of the book so I know the quality of the second half is significantly better.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. God no! I’ve one completed 1st draft of my first novel and 30K of an unrelated second novel. An outline for book 2 in the series of that first book and about 8K of a non Fic book I’m writing – I’m all over the place! Haha how’s about u?

        Liked by 1 person

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