Do you have favorite words that appear repeatedly in your work? There is nothing wrong with that unless it becomes a distraction to your readers.

Wise Old Editor-Cronin Detzz

There 211 appearances of the word “atop” in the “Game of Thrones” series. Granted, I am a fond student of words so I may be hypersensitive to word choices – but I don’t believe I’m alone in this. Several occurrences of “atop” within one novel wouldn’t be worthy of a blog article, but hundreds of times is a bit irritating to see in a great author’s work. Why don’t editors point this out?

In Dan Brown’s “Lost Symbol,” the word “atop” occurs 26 times. Items can certainly be perched atop objects, but Brown overuses it. He writes that a character’s name is “atop the letterhead” on some business stationery. In his novel “Inferno,” atop appears a more respectable 11 times. I really enjoy his books so it surprises me that these redundancies exist.

More annoying was the frequent use of the expletive “My God” in Brown’s “Lost Symbol.” The phrase was used 29 times: 10 times in dialogue and 19 times as a character’s thought. If this phrase were connected with only one character, then it could be argued that it was his catch-phrase, similar to a modern teenager’s incessant use of the word “like.” (“Like, son, that’s like annoying.”)

I did like Brown’s adjective “elegant” to describe an erudite, well-groomed supporting character, but he used this word 24 times in “Lost Symbol.” Hey – he also used it 24 times in “Inferno” – I’ve decoded Dan Brown’s hidden mystical symbolism! There are 24 hours in a day, too. I’m seeing a noble pattern…

One of my favorite authors, Gregory Maguire of the word-famous Wicked series, seems to like the word “fury.” He only uses it 4 times in “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” (a great book – please read it). He sprinkles some fury here and there in “Mirror Mirror,” a revamping of Snow White’s tale. Maguire sets the stage in Italy and Lucretia Borzia is the wicked stepmother – it’s a splendid read.

By the way, George R.R. Martin uses “fury” 116 times in his “Game of Thrones” series. That’s 5 books and it was well-placed and not overly used. It’s a great word and I plan on using it in my work in progress.

I’m trying to be cognizant of word redundancies. In my last book, as yet unpublished, my Achilles heel was “wonderful” and I have done a wonderful job obliterating its use. Well, mostly.

What words have repeatedly slipped through your work? How did you catch it? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Keep writing & keep sharing! – Cronin Detzz



Power through that writer’s block!  There are many resources out there, and below you’ll find 3 links with many tips and tricks – one of these is bound to help you.  Please leave a comment if any of these have helped you.

Power Through-Cronin Detzz

I was pleased to see an academic resource for writer’s block at The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign: Writing Tips: Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block, Copyright © 2013 University of Illinois Board of Trustees.   This site states that perfectionism in the draft stage is a sure way catch writer’s block. One tactic they suggest is what they call piecework; I call it fragmented writing. Fragmented writing is perfectly normal and has helped me tremendously. If I feel moved to write the end although I’m only half-way through my work, I jump ahead and write the end. Read more about fragmented writing in this post: 3 TIPS FOR FRAGMENTED WRITING: I’M BATMAN.

The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them) by Charlie Jane Anders lists the following problems and suggests tactics to overcome them.  Here are the types of writer’s block identified:
1. You can’t come up with an idea.
2. You have a ton of ideas but can’t commit to any of them, and they all peter out.
3. You have an outline but you can’t get through this one part of it.
4. You’re stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.
5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.
6. You’re bored with all these characters, they won’t do anything.
7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
8. You can’t think of the right words for what you’re trying to convey in this one paragraph.
9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you’re turning it into words on a screen and it’s suddenly dumb.
10. You’re revising your work, and you can’t see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block – Ginny Wiehardt suggests implementing a writing schedule and thinking of writing as a regular job, setting deadlines and keeping them. I admit that this is not a glamorous suggestion for those artsy/creative types, but anything worth doing deserves some goals. Remember to celebrate your achievements and let your friends and family know how much progress you’ve made; their excitement and praise will encourage you.

Keep writing and keep sharing – power through your writer’s block!  Please leave a comment if any of these have helped you.   – Cronin Detzz


As a writer, you may have given thought to your epitaph. If you are a poet, why don’t you write a little something to encapsulate what you are all about?

Even if you don’t want a headstone, you could still write a poem and seal it in an envelope, with instructions to a trusted love one to open the mysterious envelope upon your “graduation day” to the afterlife.

Epitaph-Cronin Detzz

Here is mine:
Life is brief and fairly fleeting
at the end, there should be no grieving
Moving on to learn all that can be known
open eyes see all that can be shown

Beautiful bliss, basking in the blue
Unstruck chord plays just for you
Sunshine bright below and above
There lies everything
in nothing but love

Please leave a comment below and share your epitaph.

This poem was published in “Poetry for Our Time.” You can peek inside at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ACronin%20S.%20Detzz

Keep writing & keep sharing – Cronin Detzz