First came the gasp, followed closely by the groan, and then the high-pitched shriek (there was also some foot stomping and lots of hand wringing). After letting my children play in our backyard they came in covered in…deer ticks! UGH!

No. 1 had one attached to his shin, but I thought No. 2 was fine…until two days later when I found one deeply embedded behind her ear. It was so small I thought it was a freckle.

Without turning this post into a PSA, I think everyone needs to know two things about ticks: 1) They can cause disease (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease depending on the type of tick) and 2) just use tweezers to remove them. The doctor I talked to said that “old-fashioned” smothering methods (vaseline, dish soap, etc.) may actually cause the tick to burrow deeper or regurgitate. Awesome.

Taking No.2 to to the doctor today because I wasn’t able to remove the tick without tearing its head off…which means it is still in her skin. (Did you all just barf in your mouths a little?)

Now on to another kind of tick (that doesn’t have an exoskeleton or numerous legs). Writing ticks: Do you guys have them? Are they so deeply embedded that you don’t notice them at all?

Maybe it’s a specific word or list of words, maybe it’s an action your characters do too often (shoulder shrugging, eyebrow lifting).

I have a new one. I’ve unconsciously stopped using the word “said.” I’m not replacing it with verbs like exclaimed, shouted or murmured. I’m letting the character’s action act as the tag. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it’s probably not. As I continue working on my WIP, I’m going to pay closer attention to that particular tick and make sure I edit for it later.


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