Monday, December 5, 2016

Well, but of course I have tics!

- from Susan

Q: Do you have writing tics?

A: Oh, yes, many and varied, hard to get rid of, much beloved by me. But, come on, what writer doesn’t?

Q: Words you overuse, things every single last character in a book does, moves you love to make?

A: If I’m not careful, my characters smile too much for a murder mystery, start their sentences with “Well, “But,” or “And,” and raise their eyebrows all the time. But then, so do I. In my casual, real life, it’s fine. In the distilled prose that you’re supposed to get in a good novel, not so much.

Q: Do you edit them out or embrace them?

A: Word Search is one of the best tools ever created by Microsoft Word and I use it aggressively: “just” and the aforementioned “well” having pride of place in every first draft. But some of my overused words are trickier to find until the publisher has set the book in typeface and I see how they line up. These are distinctive words used twice in a paragraph or on the same page. It seems my brain latches on to a great descriptor and won’t let go.

Writers and readers, how about sharing a few of the tics you have or notice? I’d welcome the reminders to check for them as well!

No comments: