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The Big Reveal

September 19, 2012 by Suzi

Welcome to the Big Reveal

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them.

What word(s) or phrases show up way too often in your work?

Jenny Morris, Agented Author
Just, that, and.

Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Agented Author
My agent once told me that my characters seem to be always “blurting out words.”Oh, and I also use too many “justs” so I have to nix many of those in my final draft. I’m sure I have many others, but right now I’m not conscious about them!

Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
(Can we change this question to what things show up way too often in your work?)  The color orange, a reference to someone drooling, depression/cutting/suicide, death, running usually makes an appearance, the state of Maine or Michigan, a boy/girl dynamic.

Theresa Paulo, Un-Agented Author
Hi my name is Theresa and I am a Thataholic. My last MS I think there was 846 that’s. Also when I’m writing dialogue I tend to use ‘yeah’ and ‘well’. Oh and my characters smile and stare/gaze/look way too much.

Mindi Scott, Published Author
I try to be really deliberate in my word choices, so if something does appear often, it’s because I really wanted it to. (Well, in theory!) I do use a lot of italics though. I have to go through my drafts over and over again to make sure that I’ve weeded out as many unnecessary italics as I can.

Steph Campbell, Published Author
Chuckle is definitely one I have to do a find and replace of often. F-bombs. And my characters nod a lot.

Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
Yeah. Hard. So. Fuck. 😉

Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
I’m a big eyebrow raiser, which definitely translates to my characters. I overdo the eye gestures for sure. Apparently I also use “informed” as a dialogue tag too often, which I discovered when a friend read my manuscript and pointed out how much she hated it each time. I try to be more conscious of that now!

What words or phrases do you overuse?


  1. Suzi says:

    I am also a thataholic, along with Theresa. And ‘just’ used to be a bad one–I’m getting better at catching it. I also need to clean up my ‘was’ words. I use it way too often.

  2. Janeal Falor says:

    I have way too many. I need to expand my word choice. A few are, all, just, that, and really.

  3. saumya says:

    Oh gosh, this is embarrassing. So apparently I use certain phrases for affection way too much. “Intertwined our legs” “Cupped his chin and kissed him” “rested against his shoulder”. Shudder!!

  4. saumya says:

    P.S. I LOVE the quote in your About Me section. So clever!!

  5. I talk about eyes too much. LOL! His eyes, her eyes, his gaze, her gaze. It’s overkill.

  6. I’m more sensitive to what I overuse, but I know I’m still guilty. It’s good to see I’m not alone.

  7. About 75% of my dialogue starts with “It’s like” or “I mean”, and everyone’s always smiling/sighing/nodding. I could go on and on!

  8. I love the amount of f-bombs in this round of answers. Also…I think I may have too many of those, as well…but only because I love cursing…so my characters do, too.

  9. Chloe Banks says:

    I am trying to curtail my use of ‘just’, ‘perhaps’ and ‘like’, but it’s not going well!

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