Okay, so here's the point in the A-Z challenge where the whole pantsing it as I go fails. I haven't planned any posts this year, assuming something would come to me each day that fit with each word. But has it worked today? Nope. I should have planned at least the tricky letters...
The word 'just' has a couple of different meanings. It is used to mean right or honorable, as in 'it was the just decision'. It can mean 'merely' - which is probably its most common usage, This is the one I want to talk about here, because 'just' is one of those words I see thrown into a lot of peoples' writing far too often. Including my own.
It's a crutch word, but at the same time, it adds authenticity to a voice because it is a word people use a lot in conversation. I don't know how many times a day I'd use it, but I can guarantee it would be over ten. Well over.
So I hesitate when editing and I've come across multiple uses of 'just' in a single paragraph. Yes, it's overused and repetitive, but by taking them all out, am I dulling down my character's voice? Am I making the voice less honest by taking out something that may be a personal quirk?
In the end, I tend to remove uses of 'just' in narration, and leave it in dialogue for certain characters. Not all of them, because the last thing you want is for all your people to talk the same and share the same turn of phrase.
Is 'just' one of your crutch words? How do you deal with it and keeping your character voice honest?