When I got bored hunting for instances of "that" to change, I took a relative break by going to the end of the frequency list, where the counts are down to two. Tricky thing here is how far apart those occurrences are. Not all of them can be removed or changed, but it's worth it to check.
Per the title of this post, one of the words I take a look at is "said." Not a thing wrong with it, really, but the key is moderation. I'm talking about "tags" for dialog here. A few things to consider:
- If you can replace the tag (Bill said) with a bit of action that creates an image, so much the better. Example: Bill dropped his knife and fork noisily. "I don't want to listen to your lies."
- Don't suffer from Thesaurus-itis either. Too many crafty words substituted for "said" draws too much attention. It pulls the reader out of the story with either amusement or annoyance at the obvious avoidance of a simpler word.
- Watch out on going with "said" too many times too close together. "I didn't go to the movies," Bill said. "I thought you did," June said. "I already saw the one playing," Bill said. Sort of like the rhythm of a train on the tracks after a bit.
- Keep in mind, sometimes a tag isn't needed at all. If you just have two characters talking, the reader is savvy enough to realize the lines of dialog alternate between them. Throw in some action (#1) now and again as a reference point if the conversation goes on for a while, or just an occasional tag.
- And when people in your book "say" things, remember that editors laugh at you when you have characters do the impossible. She giggled. He snorted. I defy anyone to giggle a response or to snort it. However, either of those two might be considered as replacements for a tag. She giggled. "I figured you would say yes."