Sunday, November 30, 2014

Just Don't

I've written before about stop words, those words which are so common we don't notice them.  These words can clog up your story and they're insidious because you don't realize they're there. There's a bunch of them, including "really," "very," and "even."

But the worst is "just."

I was reading an ARC recently and there was a "just" on almost every page. One page had six ... Six!

Since it was an ARC, I hope that these were caught by the author, the editor, or the copy editor before the book hit publication.

But overuse of "just" is not that unusual. I've seen published books with too many just's. "Just," for some reason, seems to be invisible.

I don't know why that is. It just is. *sigh*

So I am asking, pleading, beseeching, begging that you writers out there take responsibility for your just's. Use the word search function. Chances are you can cut 90% of them. Chances are you can substitute "only," "merely," or "simply" for another 9%.

I'll let you have a few because there are times when "just" actually works. But it's way less than you think it is.

Because even though you may not see all your just-abuse, your reader does.

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