Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Unmasked

Question: What's your worst writing habit?

My Answer: Words that undercut my own intention. Like sort of, kind of, and seemed to. John felt sort of sick in the afternoon = John felt sick in the afternoon. They are my plague. Kill, kill, kill! Runner-up: I use passive more than I should, and more than I think I do. Often, I'll use it on purpose, for a particular effect... but then I totally overuse the effect, and then the effect becomes an unconscious habit and slips in elsewhere, and then... Grrrrrr.

So what's your answer? Worst writing habit? (and it can be about any aspect of writing, near or far)

11 comments:

Deb Salisbury, The Mantua Maker said...

Overusing adjectives and adverbs. I describe everything to death. Then I need three or four editing runs to zap the unneeded ones. Ouch.

Ink said...

Deb, that's classic! :) You're in good company.

G.Y. Haney said...

I have this same problem with the "sort of" or "somewhat". Glad to see I'm not alone!

Now to kick the habit...

Ink said...

Yeah, G.Y., I hear you. I think I'm gonna chain up the Word Gremlin and force him to eat all those little buggers.

Ms Kitty said...

Editing until the passage no longer makes sense. I leave out words but I still read them as being there.

Overkilling character - I am the Queen of Overkill. Luckily I know enough to edit it out.

Ink said...

How are you overkilling character?

Ms Kitty said...

Oh, sometimes I exaggerate traits until a snippy character comes off as a "hag" or a naive character as "stupid."

First drafts can be over the top, as long as they get cleaned up before anybody else sees it.

It was hard to write my creepy villain so that he was creepy as all get out, but the heroine would still sit at a table and try to talk sense to him. It had to be believable and so he had to act just right through the entire story.

Lots and lots of drafts to get that feeling for him, creepy and evil but no overkill.

mnemophilia said...

Worst writing habit: sitting down to write and opening a net browser instead.

Ink said...

Mnemophilia,

Ah, the curse of having infinite worlds at your fingertips...

And if you can memorize Bleak House I will be suitably impressed. I'll even cut your grass for you.*







*all such promises and incentives here offered are, in truth, complete and utterly fraudulent lies, exaggerations and wishful postulations, none of which may actually be redeemed in the real world. Reception of such awards may be applied to in alternate realities on a first come, first serve basis.

Bookworm1605 said...

Bad writing habits? It'd be quicker to list my good wriitng habits. Let's see.

1. Not writing enough. That's the big one. Lousing around. Cruising the internet or piddling around with a jeep.

2. Having a frozen margarita right before starting writing. (mostly just blog posts, really)

3. Bringin' the descrip. I likes to pour it on thick. I get it honest, though. My hero was REH and he really brought it. He was good, though.

4. Literary inferiority complex. Too willing to allow crit, or lack thereof, to influence the direction of my work.

5. Lack of focus and discipline. Am I a writer or am I a dabbler? This is a question I wrestle with daily...

Ink said...

Book, you are most definitely a writer. Nuff said.