Clean Out The Crap – how to spring clean your final draft

This month we’re talking about spring cleaning on Aussie Owned & Read. Because I’m sure none of us can spring clean our bookshelves — because there’s no books to clean out, right? Who does that?! — we’re taking a writing approach to the topic by talking about ways you can apply spring cleaning to your manuscript.

For me first drafts are all about getting the story out there. Drafting like tomorrow doesn’t matter and not stopping until I reach those magic words ‘the end’. If I don’t write this way, I get stuck in a perpetual editing loop of perfecting yesterday’s words and never writing any new ones. This means I’m often always left with a hot mess at the end of the first draft.

So how does one clean up that disaster?

By making all the big changes first, of course. Adding, deleting, rearranging scenes. Once that’s all sorted (usually two drafts later) I like to clean up my manuscript by sweeping through and killing all the unnecessary words.

Nasty ‘telling’ words to omit from your manuscript.

See, hear, taste, feel, is/was: these are almost always telling words.

just, only, really: most of the time these are just filler.

that: it can almost always been removed from a sentence without  changing the meaning.

almost, seemed, started, began: Making things absolute makes for a stronger POV.

now: telling word.

stood up / sat down: when used in context it’s not possible to sit any other way than down, thus the word down is rendered unnecessary. The same rule applies to up.

Those are a few of the words I like to spring clean from my final draft. What about you? Are there any words you like to nix?



Stacey NashStacey Nash is the messiest first drafter ever. Lucky she edits and edits and edits some more to make up for it. To find out more about this young adult author or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places:, instagram, twitter, facebook.

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