Along with all of the other banned words on our list so far, I’ve been guilty of using “suddenly,” quite often. As a writer, you feel that using ‘suddenly’ is like lighting a match to gasoline. In a flash, your story takes a dramatic turn. Your hope in using ‘suddenly’ is to tell your reader that your story has taken a dramatic, unexpected turn.

So, what’s wrong with using ‘suddenly’?

If you want to surprise your reader with a dramatic, unexpected turn in your story, by using ‘suddenly,’ you are essentially warning them that something dramatic and unexpected is about to happen. 

Why do you want to warn your reader? Why not just tell them about the next moment in the story, and let them fully experience the ‘suddenness’ of the unexpected and dramatic turn of events.

Here’s the true test of whether you should use ‘suddenly.’ Go through your story and cut every occurrence of ‘suddenly.’ Chances are, you’ll find your story will draw the reader in with surprising twists and turns, rather than warning them something big is about to happen.

Suddenly, the door opened, and there stood my arch enemy.

The door opened, and there stood my arch enemy.

So, in summary, our list of banned words so far includes:

  1. Literally
  2. Very
  3. Really
  4. Suddenly

Suddenly, you’ll realize that you literally don’t need to use these very over-used words that really don’t add anything to your writing.