Want to kill off some of your bad writing habits?

Read the comments on this blog post from Nathan Bransford: “What is Your Writing Tic?” Read all 255+ responses if you’ve got the time, because there’s a great chance doing so will painlessly cure you of at least some of your worst tendencies.

Here’s what I added to the comments about some of my bad writing habits:

Perhaps ellipses.
My early drafts have talking heads.

Having characters smile too much (or some variation on smiling) was perhaps the most common answer, so it makes me smile to know … that I have some company there.

Anyway, turn to that thar blog post … and check it out. It’s a potent, organic collection of what not to do.

“I loved it.”

“Me, too.”

“It’s so great.”

“Yeah. Really great.”

“Burnin’ down the house!”

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This entry was posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010 at 12:59 pm and is filed under Better Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


Good post, but – oh crikey – I do all of those …

Smiling, turning, staring, looking, laughing, hands, eyes, the sky, water, weather, shoulders, crossing arms, drinking, the colour blue … em dashes, semi colons, colons … slightly, seems, a little, felt, but, just, as though, thought ….


At least I’m aware of most of them and can hopefully kill them in the edit 🙂

July 21st, 2010 at 4:30 am

Hehe. Add staring, looking, seems, and felt to mine.

‘Seemed’ mainly comes up for me when the pov character looks at something that someone else is doing, but isn’t sure if they’re really doing ___ or feeling ___. I don’t want to give the impression of a head-hop, but too many “seems” feel like weak writing.

July 21st, 2010 at 8:18 am

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