Over at Storytelling, Rosina Lippi has an interesting post about descriptive words overused by writers. I'm probably guilty of a whole list of those (off the top of my head: whole, great, terrific, probably and wonderful.)
I tend to notice more the object words I overuse. Like my obsession with doors. If I'm not careful, a door will sprout up like crab grass every couple of pages in my story. As will bodies of water, quilts, window sills, paintings or art of some kind, kitchen tables and (lately) flower arrangements. But mostly I'm plagued by doors.
I can't say exactly why my subconscious keeps trying to add these weed words to every scene. I like doors because they are a focal point in any room and part of the setting that actually does something. Bodies of water, well, I'm a girl who grew up near some of the nicest beaches in the country; that likely has something to do with it. I use window sill imagery in a lot of my poetry, that's a cross-over weed word. The rest are just things I find comforting, I guess.
I always spot my weed words after the book is published, but not always before. During the editing phase I try to remember to weed them out with Word's find and replace tool, but even then I'm a bit blind to them or forget to look for them. You can tell when I've rushed too much on editing one of my novels because of the thirty or more door references in the story.
I used to have a weed words list, but last year I filed it away in a place where I wouldn't forget it and have since forgot where that is. I think I'll make a new one and pin it to the wall or something. You writers out there, what are some of your weed words? How do you all deal with keeping them from spreading from scene to scene?