Monday, August 3, 2015

Tips on Writing Tics

I love this piece in the Washington Independent Review of Books by Tara Laskowski about writing tics, which offers helpful suggestions about how (and when) to focus your attention on them and work to eliminate them from your work:

Seven of the 13 stories in the original version of my manuscript Bystanders had characters named Jack.

And, I’ll humbly suggest that if you have writing tics (which we ALL do), you might look at the piece I wrote about ferreting them out that appeared in Snopes, the Shenandoah blog:

The reason I’m opposed to writing tics—with the exception of my fascination with characters eating—is that the tic is the familiar. It’s the first word/phrase/image our brain comes up with, so surely it’s the least interesting. It’s too easy. What would we discover if we forced ourselves to keep thinking? These tics of ours are bland and comfortable. While vigorous writing can appear easy on the page, I want my work to create discomfort in the reader and the writer. I want angles in my words and images, not soft, smooth edges. Or, to retreat into imagery I’m comfortable with: there’s only so much vanilla pudding a reader can spoon down before hoping for a plate of fiery, New Mexican red chile enchiladas.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.