One of the sessions offered last weekend discussed things to avoid in writing. It’s an excellent primer on how to never get published. Here’s where I come clean.
- Give too much back story in the beginning. Okay, I definitely did this in my first draft. Tons of information to help readers understand everything. Except no one cares. I excised most of the first several chapters and finally found the beginning. It’s like an archaeological dig. You have to dust away one word at a time until you find the exciting stuff.
- Write long, complicated sentences. Okay, I wanted to do this to show off my English major chops. It’s just too hard to sustain so ultimately I was too lazy to write the wrong way. How’s that for a win/win?
- Use weasel words like really, very, think, usually, just, started to and so on. Weeellll. I did find and delete about 156 “justs” from my work. Thank goodness for the find function in Word.
- Tell rather than show. Another something I did too much of in the first draft. I’m learning to root out this evil.
- Passive writing. Ditto. Grammar check now sings my praises on this one.
- Assume you will remember every brilliant idea you have. Oh why, oh why can’t I learn this lesson?? I write down about half of the brilliant ideas I have. Apparently they’re mainly the ones that seem brilliant until two days later. The rest of them continue to elude me for lack of paper and pen or, well, laziness.
Q4U- If you’re a writer, how do you sabotage yourself?