Monday, October 21, 2013

Call Me Irresistible

I've read that the author of Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie, kept ordering Brussels sprouts but never ate them. His explanation was that he found saying the words irresistible. 
The vegetable was eminently resistible, but the words were just too tempting not to say. Again and again. And again.

My late mother, a talented writer, lamented that she couldn't resist the word nifty. She found it not very nifty to have this nifty word in every other sentence.

My second editor for The Voice of Thunder noted that I have overused the word now. Now then, why now here and now there when we know this happened long ago and the tense is past? Now go and slash ‘em now-words wherever you can. She was right.

They’re known as tick words. Most of us mortals have them. You don’t have to be a writer to notice this in yourself.

But writers must pay heed. Resist, and order something else. Maybe something you’d like to eat.

13 comments:

  1. I've caught myself saying "absolutely" far too many times. Absolutely no Brussels srpouts for me ... except if I lose a deal with Marcia.

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  2. I say the word "amazing" so much it even irritates me. lol

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  3. I love this post. I actually do the opposite. I call words that feel like nails on a chalkboard, "buzz words." I find everyone has a word that makes them cringe the minute they hear it. ut that's a whole other post.

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  4. Well, if you're gonna have a tick word, nifty is a pretty good one.

    I think I have different "use 'em too much" words for every book, and I also have some words that I only allow myself to use once per project. Usually it's some big 50-cent word that nobody ever says and if you used it more than 1 time in a novel, people would notice. Because as reader I always notice those exceptional kinds of words. One example that leaps to mind is "braceleted" to describe something wrapping around something else. I'll give you one "braceleted" per novel. Not three, which is how many times it was used. Way too much for a unicorn kinda a word like that.

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  5. "Brilliant" is my go to. Although I'd gladly trade it in for some dark chocolate covered almonds.

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  6. "Was" is the word I use too often. At least I know to look for it now.

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  7. That was a fun fact! I'll always think of Barrie when I hear of brussel sprouts now. If I ever get business cards printed out, I have a quote of his I want to put on them.

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  8. Recently, it's 'the hell/heck' for me. Or 'bloody.' It's not just because it's October.

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  9. In writing, my tick word is "that". Although, since becoming aware of it, it's quite easy to eliminate.

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  10. Ha, I will balance out Ruth with "this."

    As for Vijaya, she won the bet and doesn't have to eat the sprouts -- or are we betting on the next step, too? Hmmm? :D

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    1. All right, now. (;=) Now I HAVE to know what bet you and Vijaya have going...

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  11. Fun post! "Indeed" is one of my annoying tick words. And, indeed, my children have their own as well. My son's is"like" as I "like" wanna "like" go to the "like" library today.

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  12. Oh but I love brussel sprouts! Probably my most overused word is Awesome followed by Awesomesauce. Probably are others that I don't know I'm saying. Oh well, I can live with that.

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