After writing about how you can make your book thinner, I'm following my own advice and taking out each and every unnecessary word. And I'm getting stricter! Every word that does not earn its keep is fired from the job. This eye-exhausting exercise is the project known as Draft 6 of Love for Beginners. For the greater good of my book, I must sacrifice some words that I love. Reading over and over the paragraphs, the words 'try' and 'starts' appear much too often. Here is one picture of my editing-in-action. I changed, 'David starts whimpering' to 'David whimpers'.
If you are writing a narrative in the present tense - it is tempting to overuse some verbs for the sake of showing when a specific action...starts...to take place. For example, you might write, 'Laura starts to weep', and you might have employed 'starts' to demonstrate that she had not been crying until that moment. 'Laura weeps' is half the word count of 'Laura starts to weep', but you might fret that your readers think Laura weeps nonstop. And, you might use the word 'tries' to show that a character...tries...to do something but fails. 'James tries to offer Laura a napkin from McDonald's to dry her eyes, but she refuses'. You can rewrite that as, 'James offers Laura a napkin from McDonald's'. Then you might comment that 'James
It might be useful to study your book and find the words that you are attracted to, and that are appearing far too much. It might not be verbs, it might be adjectives.
Hugely successful authors have beloved words. I noticed that A.S. Byatt was devoted to the word 'indefatigable' and David Lodge likes the word, 'lackadaisical'.
The habit of overusing words has even become a plot-line! LP Hartley's novel The Love Adept has a plot line where the main character, a novelist is criticised for using the word 'slightly' too much. One literary critic writes to the novelist, 'slightly is a word that you are slightly too fond of'.