Behind “The Process”: When It’s OK to Write “Just”

writing advice; writing tips

Hey peeps!

If you don’t know me and you’re like, Who is this butthole to tell ME when to use “just” in my writing?

Well friend, I’m that butt–I’m that person. My name is Chris. My book and website says Christopher on it, but that’s just for people that don’t know me really well. You can call me Chris.

Hi. I’m Chris.

I was in the Navy for a little while with a few trips to Iraq. I used to teach middle school English/Language Arts after I studied English, with a focus in creative writing and literature, on the GI Bill. Very fortunate to have no college debt. Thanks Navy.

Anyway, I wrote this book called Switchers. It’s about teens who are forcefully pulled into a time travel war against their future selves. But in Switchers, you time travel by switching bodies with you from the time you’re traveling to. In our near future, a parasitic fungus–known as the “zombie fungus” in real life–devastates humanity and the only way out is to go to the past.

And sacrifice your younger self to the parasitic fungus.

Click on any of the links that say Switchers for all info and ordering links, including links for an autographed copy. (Supplies may temporarily be limited; I’m selling them in person this weekend and may not have a ton left…)

Getting back to the writing process…

Yeah. Sorry. I go off the rails sometimes.

I’m bringing back the writing series Behind “The Process” because I miss writing about writing. And now that I have a book out, and it’s actually selling!, I feel less pressure on that whole thing. So I’m getting back to the joy of writing!

Something my editor and beta readers caught for me was an instance of saying just a few too many friggin times. Other writers routinely say the word they cut the most in editing is just.

Here’s My **just** Rule

How do I know when it’s OK to use ‘just’?

Lots of random writers

Two times:

  1. When it refers to something that just happened.
  2. In dialogue

Ex: Shots were fired just before she pulled up.

You could also use “immediately” or “moments before” or whatever. But I don’t think you’d get flagged unless you saw it what-feels-like an unreasonable amount of times.

Ex: “You can’t just leave whenever you get upset!”

Not acceptable in narration, but as a person speaking…people talk like that. That’s why we overuse it in our writing.

Don’t feel bad if you overuse it. That’s why we edit, kiddo!

Just don’t show it to people until you don’t have that uneasy feeling about it.



Christopher Tallon host

Christopher Tallon is the author of the dark, adventurous, time-travel novel Switchers.

Follow me, I mean him…follow him:

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