Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. I’m not convinced that I’m qualified to dispense any sort of advice, writing or otherwise. That being said, I’m going to try to parrot good advice I hear/see/stumble-blindly-upon-whilst-wandering-in-the-desert.
That having been said, how about we start with this:
Matt Dovey, awesome writer, awesome guy, noted once that the word ‘just’ almost never adds anything to prose. He said that he runs a Ctrl-F for it when he’s editing as a way of tightening up the prose.
“Jennifer ate just one of the candies” conveys the exact same amount of information as “Jennifer ate one of the candies” but it does so with an extra word.
He’s right, and being cognizant of the ‘just’ problem (and similar one-word-add-nothings) has made me a better writer.