Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Description tics

Oracles Promise
Oak= 21 times

Okay, I haven't really looked through my writings in too much detail, but this was the one that came to mind.  21 times to use oak as a descriptor in a novel?  That seems rather excessive.  Especially when you look at it showing up 3-5 times in one paragraph.

I know on one hand that the simplest description is often the best, but sometimes you have to look around for one that will be less obtrusive.

What are your tics in description?


  1. Oak....now there's an original one!

    I wrote a whole blog post on this. Basically, my problem areas are "just" and "as if." Once upon a time, "Suddenly" was a problem, too, but I think I've worked through that one.

  2. Ah, good you found that out! Did you discover that through that Cloud site? (where you submit your ms and it makes the words you use more often bigger, into a "cloud" shape).

    I use "shadowy" a lot, as well as "but," "as," and "then." A lot of things tend to be gray. LOL

  3. I have several "tic" words. I'm constantly weeding them out. One of my favorites is describing leaves. This really comes as no surprise. I love leaves. My house is even decorated in that motif. I have leave vases, leave pictures, leave knick-knacks. You get the point.

  4. Um, let's not judge me for never thinking of this. What an excellent idea! How did you get the word count?

  5. Using the same word 20 or more times is inevitable. However, if it appears in the same paragraph a lot, then that can be a problem. My suggestion is to go over some of the 'oaks', and see if another word can take its place.

    As for me, I tend to use the word 'was' a lot.

  6. Great idea Stephanie. The first step is definitely figuring out what the tics are in the first place so they can then be avoided.

    It's a bit cringeworthy going over my WIP. I've gots heaps.. gray, realised, deep, the list goes on.. and on and on.


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