The plague of the just

I say “just” a lot. I’ve only recently noticed how frequently it pops up in my writing, and maybe it doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but it bothers me…just enough. It seems like these words go in phases for me. It was during the final proof of The Dragon Keeper that I realized how often I said realize throughout the text, freaked out, and begged my editor to let me edit 90% of them out. In theory, repetition of words seems like the cheaters way to write. You say the same thing again, instead of finding a new and fresh way to say it. In practice though, there’s more to the issue. How many new and fresh ways are there to say something? And to a certain extent, you need to rely on established associations and phrasings in order for your readers to connect with the story. I could go on, but Michael Erard has already done a better job of it here. A good craft piece worth a few minutes of any writer’s day.