Do you remember Marsha Q’s post two weeks ago on word tics? Oh, my, did that hit me spot on. During residency, a friend read a draft of my novel. One of her notes pointed out my overuse of the word “just.” I am thinking – really? But oh, my. This morning I called in the exterminator as Q suggested and my head is throbbing.It was so intense I had to take a break from my find and replace function. I am appalled at how many times I just threw in the word “just.” Tic, tic, tic. In almost every case, I could cut it out and not need to find a replacement. My first editor Virginia Buckley called it the echo effect, explaining that often writers can’t even see it in their own work. A bad habit, highly irritating to readers.

This is a revision technique on the micro level. Perhaps better for the afternoon stretch of writing when I don’t have the early morning clarity for the macro revision needs. But an important one indeed. What tic/echo words have you had to exterminate lately?

Shout out to all those writers on the East Coast, hoping Irene didn’t do too much damage to you and yours.