Reviewing my draft, I got the feeling I was using using "seemed" a lot. 'He seemed unhappy', 'it didn't seem to fit'. 'The rain didn't seem to be slacking off'
I got annoyed, and searched and found I had 213 in 132400 words. That's once every 622 words, or two pages.
It felt wishy-washy. I got rid of most of them, and it's much better. 'He was unhappy' 'I didn't fit', 'the rain wasn't slacking off'. So much more direct and deliberate. Had to keep the uncertainty in a few, in which case I used something like 'appeared' as in "The hallway appeared to be a dead end".
I'm used to going back and finding new examples of bad writing in my drafts, but never because of one particular word.
Anybody else come across a word like that and realize it's an indicator of bad writing? What else can I look for?!?
Cheers, and happy writing.
Source: reddit post