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What Are Your Most Annoying Writing Tics?

Everyone who writes a lot develop some nasty habits that poison their work--or at least give them pimples. We fall back into them naturally because it's easier to just ignore them during the rough draft and exterminate them later.

On the other hand, We often forget to go back to reap them.

See that strike-outed transition? That's one of them.

One of my goals is to squash those writing tics.


An incomplete list of my "writing tics":

  1. Overusing some transitions: "On the other hand" is one of many of them, but the main culprits are "unfortunately" and "however". Don't believe me? Look back at the last five posts of my blog, and you'll find multiple instances of these little boogers. Unfortunately, the problem is how to moderate them without making my writing choppy.
  2. Overusing parenthesis: Again, look back at the last five posts.
  3. Overusing ellipses: This is the "tic" I have been most successful at reigning in, in the grand scheme of things. I notice that a year ago, I overused them in my fiction, and it gave the prose a dotted feel. I still use them a lot in my forum posts, but on my blog, I've been conserving them. It doesn't mean they're not a part of my style still, but it's something I've taken in account.

Those are just the tics I notice.

But they're easy to deal with.

There are two different ways to suppress those tics.

  1. Keep them in mind when writing. Don't get too hung up on them, but your subconscious can affect your writing.
  2. Edit them out after the draft. This is the easier route.

In the end, they're only harmful if you leave them in.

YOUR TURN: -point to title-. How do you deal with them? If you're not a writer, what are some examples of recurring elements that you've seen in a novel that were distracting?

PS: Today's post was short, but I'm planning something deeper next week.