This week on the Story Works Round Table, Alida, Robert, and Kathryn discuss those tics we can’t seem to avoid when we sit down at the writing desk. They’re not all bad. Some actually help us get ourselves into a scene or feeling along with our characters. Key to knowing whether your writing tics are helpful or painful is identifying them and understanding the revision tactics that will turn a tic into a quality.










What is a writing tic? And is it always a bad thing? We talk about throat clearing, voice issues, using filter words, and having a POV stranglehold. All of these are things you want to fix in revision, but having them isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you recognize them. And what you do after you recognize them can change your writing behaviors for the better!

What we talked about:

What is a writing tic? (0:35)

Throat clearing tics. (1:30)

How can you fix throat clearing? And when do you fix it? (3:05)

How can you identify your throat clearing problems? (6:19)

How do you identify tone and voice tics? (8:15)

Don’t be hard on yourself! (9:35)

“Felt like” or “realized”. (10:08)

Words that we overuse, and the POV stranglehold. (11:49)

How to recognize lost momentum in dialogue. (14:05)

How to fix dialogue tics. (15:09)

Adverb tics and once you identify them, how should you fix them? (Don’t take them all out!) (17:10)

What is the point of finding your personal writing tics and habits? (18:49)

Do not rely on the verb “to be” (is/was/were), and how you fix it. (22:50)

Beware of overusing people’s names. (27:39)





Things we mentioned:

Weasel Words
Filter Words
Lee Child 
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 

Want more about these topics? Check out:

60 Second Tip: POV Stranglehold


Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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