I have a pretty simple criteria for words I don’t want to see in books. It probably hasn’t changed in years. I don’t think I’ve ever explained exactly what it is. Your mileage may vary, but for me it is real simple:
If I haven’t heard a word spoken in conversation at least three times outside academia it shouldn’t be in a novel.
Are there exceptions? Sure.
Just not very many:
- Technical terms are exempt,
- The word should not have been used by the same person each time.
- One conversation where the word is repeated counts as one occurrence.
- If you’re trying to convey something crucial about a character.
That’s it. I read tons, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life talking to people on topics that run the gamut. Books are a form of communication, and the most effective forms of communication are pretty straightforward.