2 Ways for Writers to Identify Overused Words

Ease the process with online tools

Sandi Parsons
Two Minute Madness

--

Red Word Art cloud
Word cloud created using Word Art

Words are innocuous, easy to use, and even easier to overuse. Repetition is fine when it’s intentional and written for effect. But when you overuse a word, it has the potential to weaken your prose.

Fortunately, there are tools to help identify your problem words besides sitting down and manually counting through your manuscript.

Scrivener

Scrivener has a handy little feature aptly called “Text Statistics.”

  1. Highlight which chapter (or chapters) you’d like to check.
  2. Click on Project.
  3. Click on Text Statistics.
  4. Click on the dropdown arrow next to Word Frequency.
Scrivener screenshot of text statistics on a draft of Rainbow Bleak’s Family Tree

How overused a word is will depend on the length of your manuscript and the target audience. In the example above, I’ve used “little” 27 times. As I scrolled down, I discovered “horrible” reared its head a total of 20 times. For an early chapter book with a word count under 6,000, this is problematic and repetitious for the reader.

--

--

Sandi Parsons
Two Minute Madness

Sandi Parsons lives & breathes stories as a reader, writer, and storyteller📚 Kidlit specialist, dipping her toes in the big kid’s pool.