Writer’s Ticks, What They Are and How to Cope from Gail Carriger (Important for Authors)

So I was chatting with some authorial cronies of mine, at the time in a slightly indecorous state, but nevertheless capable of conversation. The subject of writer’s ticks was arrived upon. It occurred to me, Gentle Reader, that I ought to explain the terminology. I thought it was in common use, but apparently it isn’t.

Writer’s ticks are certain words, phrases, types of imagery, descriptive metaphors, or other grammatical fallbacks that and author is unconsciously prone to repeating.

Now, I am well aware of a number of mine (the phrase “a moment” springs instantly to mind, I’m also fond of the words kumquat, pickle, and hassock) but as I proofed the galley of Soulless, I found others I’d never noticed before.

This is a tad aggravating because one cannot rewrite in galley stage, one can only correct egregious errors (preferably the typesetter’s and not the author’s own).

I must say that, so far, Orbit has proved itself a very clean publisher. My only other experience with a big name SF/F publisher, an anthology through DAW, had two repeat lines and a dropped paragraph (in one very short story), so needless to say I was expecting the worst.

But I am, sadly, less clean of a writer than I had previously envisioned. Then again, perhaps these are the types of things one only catches on the 15th read through, so no one will notice but me. And possibly five rabid fans.

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Octopus broach
Your Tisane of Smart:
National Academy of Sciences Report Finds Forensic Evidence Lacking. There’s a shocker. They should tap more trained archeologists.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Odyssey Writing Workshop blog and podcast

Quote of the Day:
“The story is always better than your ability to write it. My belief about this is that if you ever get to the point that you think you’ve done a story justice, you’re in the wrong business.”
~ Robin McKinley


Posted by Gail Carriger


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  1. annbenjamin said:

    Once my use of 'just' was pointed out to me, I've been hyper sensitive to my use of it. Also, I use entirely too many adverbs (but have made peace with this).

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