Well is a word many people have problems with. I remember when a friend pointed out I was using too many wells in my early writing days, in a manuscript that is temporarily shelved. I ended up deleting quite a few. Thankfully, I tend to catch myself when I write it now, but I still need to go through and take out the unnecessary ones.
Here are the examples from The Proper Way to Say Goodbye where I deleted the wells.
-Mom wasn’t a pet person, so we never had any— well except for when Brock brought home those hermit crabs in high school.
-Well, thank you for the help, Chloe.
-Well, I have to get going now.
-Well, don’t worry, she’s much nicer than my mom.
The well just doesn’t do anything for the sentence. It’s totally unnecessary. But well is also a word you may use to establish the voice of a character. I chose Murphy to be the one who uses it in his speech. Then for most of the other people, I deleted it, except in the rare occasion.
November 23, 2012 by Suzi