After trying the Expresso app, I downloaded an active verbs list and restructured a few sentences. My recommendation for tackling such issues is to chart the word frequency and try to reduce the number of menial words. You can see in the word cloud above, I use ‘about’ a lot and not many words can act as a substitute. ‘Want’ and ‘need’ are often interchangeable words, so I need a solid third option.
The verb list suggests these options for ‘need’ — require demand exact claim (see WANT)
My main character becomes more demanding as she grows in power so I may opt for ‘demand’, in the latter half of the novel. The other options depend on the fit inside a sentence, sometimes the other options seem awkward. If character names become the most prominent features of the word cloud, I should be in good shape. The name of my main character’s diary also shows up a lot.
My use of a fertility cult explains the use of some words. I often feature a leader and a follower, so answers to the affirmative show up a lot.