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Just a glance … or a tick … whatever

Monday, 13 September 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Okay, today’s a home brewed cup of Starbuck’s coffee with French vanilla creamer, and I think it’s going to be a more-than-two-cups kind of day. I’ve been sick for six days and my head felt like a big boulder rocking on top of a skinny stick. I’d get up to write and have to stop and rest. So now that I’m better, I’m diving into my final edit (until further notice) of my current WIP.

So here’s the thing, I have a list of words that I tend to use often. One of them being glance. All my characters are glancing here and there and up and down that they all seem to have an annoying tick. I did a search for glance in my pages, and the result was well over 260 in my novel. This had come up with a conversation I had with a fellow writer on Twitter. Her over used word was nod. A couple of novels that I’ve critiqued used smile all the time that their characters resembled the Cheshire Cat. As writers we tend to get too close to our work and can’t see the technical beyond the creative of our writing. The technical is just as important as the creative. We want our readers to be in the story and not stumble over all our writing ticks.

Since discovering my tick, I’ve whittled down my glances considerably, and my story flows better. I also searched other writers’ tick words in my novel and found a few I didn’t even know I had over used. That’s the beauty of discussing your work with others, you discover weaknesses you never knew you had. So what’s your irritating tick word?

That’s it. Slurp! (Yuck. Cold. I need to top off my coffee.)

Filed: Misc

6 Comments
  • Jan Morrison says:

    Hi! I’ve got a list of words that I got from someone’s site ;( – cannot remember who’s but they are words that weaken your story – here they are:
    Realized
    Thought
    Saw
    Noticed
    Glanced
    I think they weaken it because they get us telling rather than showing but I’m not sure…
    I will check my wip with a word cloud program to find out what mine are!
    Jan Morrison

  • Starbucks, I’ll have a cup with you lol!
    I use smiled and thought way to much!

  • I just glanced at ur page, u poor thing get well soon. good thing I glanced eh! oh well i shall come back to glance later and good luck glancing at your wips.
    I think i know what mine is but am still in denial I would look at it once am done

  • MT says:

    I’m better at seeing those over used words in other’s writing, which in turn helps me recognize them in my own. I’m sure I use sure too much. 🙂

  • Talei says:

    Oh I’ve a few that need culling… glanced is up there, followed by gaze, softly, slowly, sighed… I better stop now. 😉

    I figure that once my WIP is done I’ll go through again, what I find is useful is having someone read chapter by chapter…as I go so if there are words that pop up alot I can knock them on the head asap! 😉

  • Glanced. Oh dear. I’m afraid to search on that one.

    Does it count that I’ve weeded out most of my other over-used words? 😉

    My former “favorite” was “then.” I’m almost paranoid about using it now.

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