"Look at what?"
She looked irritated ...
One of my pet words is "looked" and one of my pet cliches is to say a character looked a certain way. I think that's telling, not showing. If she looked angry, what does that look like? Narrowed eyes, grit teeth? If the hero and heroine look into each other's eyes, what exactly are they doing? Do they see a stranger across a crowded room? Exchanging secret euchre signals so they won't be accused of talking across the card table?
I'm thinking probably all of us have a pet word or phrase that keeps popping up like lambs-quarter in my vegetable garden. For awhile one of the characters in a WIP "caught her breath" repeatedly until one of my crit partners commented that the character might hyperventilate.
In my case, I think my "looks" have to do with haste. Sometime in the future I will actually figure out what the characters looked like as they kept looking at each other.
What are some other pet words, phrases and short cuts? How do we weed them out?