Cutting Unnecessary Details and Filler Words

Writing is a lot like gardening. Sometimes, you need to trim off the deadwood and unnecessary growth to allow the real beauty to shine through. And just like the most flourishing of gardens, your story too can bloom by removing filler words and unnecessary details.

What Are Filler Words?

Filler words are the “ums” and “ahs” of writing. They’re words and phrases that sneak into your prose, cluttering it up without adding much value. Some common culprits include “just,” “very,” “really” and “that.”

How Unnecessary Details and Filler Words Hurt Your Book

They’re like the literary equivalent of a bloated stomach after a large meal. They make your writing feel heavy and slow it down. They can also distract from your story’s main points, dilute tension, and make it harder for readers to follow the plot.

How to Identify Unnecessary Details in Your Book

  1. Look for “telling” instead of “showing”: Unnecessary details often hide in sections where you’re telling rather than showing. If a detail doesn’t add to the scene or enhance the reader’s understanding, it might be unnecessary.
  2. Watch for overly descriptive passages: While it’s important to create vivid imagery, going overboard can bog down your story.
  3. Hunt down filler words: Use your software’s search function to hunt down common filler words.
  4. Read out loud: This can help you catch awkward phrasings and unnecessary words that you might miss when reading silently.

The Joy of Clean, Crisp Prose

Trimming your prose is like spring cleaning. It may take some effort, but it’s incredibly satisfying when done. By cutting out unnecessary details and filler words, you let your story shine bright, unclouded by the dust of excess.