Editor Cat is taking her new job seriously and she is here to help you improve your writing, or at least try. Her advice is suspect at best, so take it however you see fit:
Meowllo to all my friends (you know who you are.) This is Editor Cat with your unnecessary word of the week. The word this week is “actually.” This is a word that is usually not needed within the context of prose. “Actually” is defined as “as an actual or existing fact; really.” So most of the time the word is redundant.
As an example, in the sentence above if I had written “So most of the time the word is actually redundant,” I have said nothing different than what I said in the original sentence. If you are stating a fact, or at least something that is a fact within your story, then why reiterate it with a word that means “this is a fact.” Examples.
The man was actually dead.
We were actually on the way to the bus stop.
Editor Cat is actually the smartest cat mankind has ever seen.
Every one of these sentences would say the same thing and be stronger without the word “actually” in them. The exception to this would be in dialogue, because you humans are silly and talk way more than you need to.
Yes, one word removed may not seem like much, but over the course of a novel, it can add up. And trust me, in the coming weeks I’ll be pointing out more words you can remove to bring your writing up to Editor Cat’s exacting standards.
Until next time, keep those keyboards clicking.