To delete now or later that is the question.

One question of so many!

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Last week I read a post by one of my fav authors What Am I Working On? Glad You Asked…. His post got me

My internal editor is never quiet.

I go back over and over a chapter, too many times I’m sure before I can continue. Makes my writing process slow as molasses.

What was it about Dan’s post that caught my eye?

Crutch words. Or some of you may know them as filler words.


Dan let his manuscript rest for a year before beginning the editing process and culling out crutch words. Now that’s what I call discipline.

It’s not bad to use these words. They make great place holders for an idea, thought or dialog. However, too many a story makes me look more of an amateur than I am. Don’t know about you but I want my book to appear as polished as possible.

  • So just how do we find crutch/filler words? See, told you I had more questions.
    • Use a word counter to find words used too often as well as adverbs and repeated phrases. Look at the numbers. As all accounts know, numbers don’t lie.
  • How do we replace them? And with what?
    • After you locate the offending words/phrases, decide if a word adds or detracts to your sentence/paragraph. If the story isn’t altered by deleting the words, then you are on the right track.
  • Why should we change them? 
    • Crutch/filler words make our writing lazy. They detract from the flow and crisp dialog. And in some cases, are down right irritating to the reader.

Writers Helping Writers has a great tip sheet of crutch words. [PDF]Crutch Words – Writers Helping Writers. Check out their website for additional writing tools and books.

So tell me, am I the only writer that gets bogged down with editing too soon?

Do you edit as you go or wait as Dan did?

Are you able to silence your internal editor and get the job done?

Sorry if I sound like a two-year-old with all the questions but I’ve got a curious mind. LOL

As always I’ve listed a few articles at the bottom of this post to aid your process.

Leave me a comment – I love comments.

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Keep reading!

How Crutch Words Are Holding Back Your Writing

How to Identify your Crutch Words and Highlight Your Style

13 thoughts on “To delete now or later that is the question.

  1. I’ve been trying to wait until I finish the first draft before I start into the heavy editing in the past. I, still, use the thesaurus too much, I’m afraid. With this stated, however, I wonder if I would be better off editing after each chapter if for no other reason, to break up what I’m doing in the process of trying to finish a book.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I read the post written by Kristina. I usually have two to three scenes per chapter so editing by chapter may make everything flow better from one scene to the next and one chapter to the next. Anyway, it is something I want to try.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Even Word recognizes my crutch words now 😦 I try to re-read each chapter before going on to the next and get rid of the obvious ones. Since I write in first person, some crutch words have to stay because they’re part of the character’s personality. It’s hard to find the line between funny and overdone sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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