Monday, December 16, 2013


           Regardless of whether or not you are a writer or not, we all have bad habits when it comes to grammar and writing. I am no different. I have recently started writing my fourth novel, GODDESS BY CHANCE. After writing three novels in first and third person, I think I have a base to pull from when it comes to recognizing some of my own writing bad habits. And today I will be brave enough to share mine with you.
TENSE USAGE. I am the world's worst at slipping in and out of correct tense. One minute I am writing in present tense. The next I'm writing in past tense. This is a big problem of mine and I have to remind myself constantly to be on the lookout for this as I write. I think I run into this a lot when I'm shifting between telling backstory that has happened and what is presently happening in the story. It's a problem and I know it.
DESCRIPTIONS. I struggle with writing descriptions, not because I can't, but because I don't like to. I'm the type who wants to get to the story. I don't like wasting time writing long descriptions because I feel like they can in a sense distract from the story. If you spend so much time with the long descriptions, they can cause your reader to lose track of your story and you to lose the flow as you write. There needs to be description in your novel, but you have to make sure that you walk the line between too much and not enough. My problem is I tend to write not enough description. I have a habit of skipping over it to get to the story. But I need to do better, so I am making a conscious habit of trying to take the time to have adequate descriptions throughout my novel. After all, I want my readers to be able to clearly imagine the world I have created.
WORD CHOICE. I am guilty of the sin of using the same word over and over again. I don't try to do so, but it just happens. I've taken note of this while transcribing my third novel, THE DIARY OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER. I have used the word "look," like a thousand times in the first few chapters. Clearly I need to have a thesaurus to refer to when I'm writing to vary my word choice.
POINT OF VIEW. Yes, this too is a bad habit that has been brought to my attention. The last time I did it was today. Forgetting that the story was supposed to be in third person, I switched to first person and had written a whole paragraph before I realized what had happened. Needless to say I shook my head at my own foolishness and quickly went back and edited the paragraph. My preference is first person. I like writing the character as if it were me, but third person allows you a wider view of the world so I'm trying to stick with that.
DIALOGUE TAGS. I've heard many writers say the only dialogue tag you need is "said." I absolutely do not follow this rule. I am the Queen of Inventive Dialogue Tags. I love them. I feel like they jazz up what is being said, but I know they are bad. Pray with me as I try to stop using them so frequently. I already know I cannot go cold turkey just yet.
So those are my "deadly writing sins," that I watch for during the first draft and try to clean up during edits. Be brave. Share with me a few of your own bad writing habits.

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