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What Are Filler Words, and How To Increase Readability?

In speech, filler words are short, meaningless words (or sounds) we use to fill the little pauses that occur while we decide what we’re going to say next. They’re the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ and ‘ers’ that litter our conversations, whether or not we like it. But although these brief filler words don’t add any meaning to your statements, they perform a function in speech. They allow you to take a second and think about what you’re going to say next. They let others know that you’re not quite finished speaking yet, even if you’ve paused for a moment.

Filler words add no meaning or value to a sentence and simply fill the space and decrease the readability of your manuscript. #amwriting #amwritingfantasy #authorlife #writingcommunity #writingtips #author #blog #australia

Before I continue with Filler words, I want to share with you something outstanding. I am an affiliate for ProWritingAid.
What does that mean for you? For a limited time, you can sign up FOR FREE and if you choose to proceed with it, you can get 20% OFF ALL PURCHASES with the code: HONEY20 (even monthly subscriptions with the option to cancel at anytime). What are you waiting for? Click the link below to cut out those filler words.

Filler Words in Writing

Filler words take a distinct form in writing. Few of us actually write out “uh” or “um” when we’re composing an email. Instead, those little pauses manifest as unnecessary adverbs and empty phrases that add length but not substance to what you’re trying to say. Fortunately, written communication gives us the opportunity to edit ourselves before we send our message out to the world.

Filler words are words that add no meaning or value to a sentence and simply “fill” the space. They can be removed or replaced, but often inadvertently creep up in writing since we’re so used to using them in our speech. Having too many filler words decreases the readability of your manuscript, making it hard for the reader to engage in the action, plot, and characters of your story.

Below are examples of the most common filler words, according to InfusionMedia.

Most filler words are adverbs and adjectives. How do we cut them from our Manuscript? Use William Zinsser’s technique and read your sentences aloud. Note the rhythm and sound. Do your adverbs and adjectives overpower your verbs? Then get rid of the adverbs and adjectives. The action is what’s important.

Wordy: For all intents and purposes, this project will be outsourced.

Concise: This project will be outsourced.

Wordy: Needless to say, I think we should get grilled cheese.

Concise: We should get grilled cheese.

Basically

Basically is a filler word that appears both in speech and writing. We often use basically when we’re exaggerating for effect or making a statement that is generally true but may have some rare exceptions. Sometimes basically is an important qualifier, but often, it’s clear from context that you’re not making a claim of absolute truth.

Okay: Basically, I could eat ice cream for any meal. 
Better: I could eat ice cream for any meal.

Just

Check out some of your recent emails. Do you tend to use the word just a lot? Is it just a way to make things sound more polite? Do you like to just follow up on things? Is there anything you were just wondering? Try deleting this one from your sentences and seeing if there’s really a difference in meaning. Most of the time, you’ll find there’s not.

Okay: Could you just send me that file when you have a moment?
Better: Could you send me that file when you have a moment?


If you want a personalized editing critique on your manuscript, I have an option for that on my Patreon! Click below to get the editing support you might need, along with a lot more content!

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Very/Really/Highly

We reach for adverbs like very, greatly, and highly to add intensity, but the truth is that these words are so overused that readers tend to gloss right over them. You’re better off picking a more vivid word to describe what you’re talking about.

Okay: The new pizza place downtown was very busy this afternoon. 
Better: The new pizza place downtown was bustling this afternoon.

Needless to say

If it’s really needless to say, why say it? If it does need to be said, don’t undercut yourself!

Okay: Needless to say, my haircut looked awful. 
Better: My haircut looked awful.

For what it’s worth

We tend to fall back on this phrase when we want to make a point but we’re not sure if others will be happy about it. Leave it out and your sentence will be more concise and sound more confident.

Okay: For what it’s worth, we could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward. 
Better: We could test our idea with a focus group before moving forward.


Read your book aloud. It stops the skimming over filler words and slows down the reading pace to let you find those filler words. Below, I have a list of other filler words to spot in your manuscript.
Until next time, keep your words sharp and sword sheathed.


If you like what you read, if you have questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question, or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.


#DouglasWTSmith #editing

common filler words for writing

8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book

You’ve finally decided to start writing a book, and you’re pumped about it. You’re confident your book is going to be one of the greatest written works in literary history. But when you consider actually starting the process, you feel stuck. Now what?

Everyone has their distinct writing style. Some gush out words to create a lengthy and very rough draft, while others agonize over every single word and sentence. Certain writers start at page one, while others create the body first and then fill in the intro later. Some aren’t even sure what genre they want to follow until they’ve hashed out several pages.

You’ll run into obstacles as you embark on your writing journey, so here are 8 Tips To Start Writing Your Book.

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Seven Tips That Helped Finish My Book

How to Write a Novella

Before I begin, I want to remind you, that if you want to support me as an author and receive SHORT STORIES, MERCHANDISE, and PERSONALIZED WRITING ADVICE, go to my PATREON to sign up.

When you go to start your novella, remember it’s important to appreciate the form. It would be premature to start to craft your own story without first reading a collection of novellas and taking stock of elements that appeal to you. Once you feel like you have a sense of the form, it’s time to start writing. Below are SEVEN TIPS that helped me and hopefully, they help you finish your novella.

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Seven Perfect Endings for Your Story

WRITING UPDATE: Still working on my novella, Shadow of the Wicked. It’s in the hands of my beta readers and hopefully, by the end of the month, I’ll be looking for cover work and my mailing list subscribers will be the first to see it, and an ADVANCE READING COPY, so make sure you sign up!

As I promised in the previous post, I had big news concerning my blog and the writing tips I’ve been posting for 2021. The writing tips will slow down. A few will be posted here and there but the majority of my writing tips will be for the people subscribed to my mailing list and on the OMAM Publishing website.
So either join my mailing list above (you’ll also get tons of other stuff) or/ and go to OMAM website.


Here are the Seven Perfect Endings For Your Story

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Three Ways to Write Every day

If you want to be a writer, write. If you can’t write because of fear, try not to take this so seriously. After all, you’re doing this for you—to be the best version of yourself you can imagine. Don’t let fear stop you from what you feel you should do and never, never stop writing.

Writers are self-doubting people. Many of us revolt against ourselves and strike fear into our own hearts. We are, after all, our own worst critics.

My secret is simple: I make everything count. Every effort, no matter how small, gets me one step closer to my goal. Even if you have limited time to write, you might be surprised at how quickly the words add up. All you need to do is hold yourself accountable and show up for work. No creative magic required.

Here are three tips to write every day.

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Prophecy

From the concept in my post Tuesday Discussion I spoke about having a prophecy in books. How it can be used as a foreshadowing technique or outline the plot for a chosen one.

I wrote a prophecy for my current novel. After doing some research and discussion I am confused whether I should or not.

Here it is below, please comment and let me know what you think. Whether it should be included, if it needs some tweaking or remove it.

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Monday Motivation

Last week has been a successful week in writing.

I am a quarter of the way through the 1st editing stage of my novel and things are shaping into the way I envisioned them two years ago.

Whilst editing, I had a moment of clarity about blogging. Each week I tried to encourage writers to participate in #shortstories competitions and when I started my blog, my core value was to entice bloggers onto my page by sharing my writing journey, writing thoughts and relative questions for writing; visiting my blog for the interest of Douglas W. T. Smith.

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Short Story Sunday

Short Story Sunday.

Image result for short story fantasy pinterest

This will be the third week of this weekly ritual. I hope some people are starting to enjoy the process as much as I am. However, I would like more engagement by other bloggers/ authors or writers. My answer to this is time-frames and deadlines. For those who sign-up to my email listing below, I will send the reminders.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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I am excited to annouce that The Ink Owl blog has nominated  me for the Summer Sunshine Blogging Award!

Thank you to for the nomination!

It’s always incredible to find followers and readers that enjoy my writing.

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