I recently read a blog post by Tracy Buchanan about crutch words. She recommended using Wordle to find the most overused words in your novel. You can paste as much of it in there as you like. I put in the first ten chapters and got this:
After taking out character names, this is the result:
Ah, it makes one feel so much better about herself. I can feel my eyes tearing up. When can I get back to the state of blissful ignorance where I thought my writing was good? I know it can’t possibly be as bad as it seems.
I think I forgot to choose the function that shows common words. I’m pretty sure if I had done that, there would be a lot of “he”s. Some of these crutch words surprised me, others not so much. For instance, I knew that sword would be in there somewhere because there’s a lot of fighting within the first ten chapters.
This is a good tool for improving your writing, but not for self-esteem 🙂