Rookie Mistakes?

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lmjackson
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by lmjackson » June 23rd, 2010, 6:12 pm

aspiring_x wrote:1. do you believe "cliche" or as i like to refer to it "common phrasing" is ever acceptable? i vote yes. if not used as a crutch, sometimes using familiar terms is the most precise method to evoke the imagery you wish to relay.
There's a time and a place for everything (pardon the cliched phrase). And it's all about what the author does with the cliche. Vampires and romance are a cliche combination. Yet, for decades people have been eating it up (Anne Rice, anyone?). Same thing with superheros (are Spider-man, Superman, and the Fantastic Four REALLY that different?) The whole point is to take something that may be cliche, like a coming-of-age story, and making it unique.

As for common phrasing, again it really depends. I hate to make something wishy-washy, but rarely is anything in writing so cut and dry. Just as the ink dries on the written rules, a bestselling novel comes out that breaks all of those rules. Basically, never say never (another cliche!).
2. do you think that "cliche" is a term too loosely thrown around? sometimes i think wonderfully intelligent writer-folk get trapped into a mentality of superiority. instead of enjoying reading, stories, characters, etc. we get distracted by pet peeve terminology, and deem such phrasings as cliche. i don't think any of us want to read the same thing over and over again, but i find that people throw around the word cliche like they don't know anyother words.
"Cliche" probably does get tossed around too much, but it's a lot easier than taking two sentences to explain why a certain word choice isn't optimal. For example, "just when she thought it was safe" or "in an ironic twist" or "completely out of the blue" all have the potential to be cliche or not. If it's the former, then yes it is cliche and the writer should know about it.
sure words should be used correctly and precisely. sure words can be strung together in ways that take your breath away. but not every sentence needs to be poetry. sometimes, isn't it best to just get to the point?
Agreed. Purple prose in an attempt to avoid an overused phrase is just as bad.
i think the general rules of thumb should be: when i read this aloud does it make me stumble over words? and is this phrasing the same thing i hear all the time? if we answer yes to either of these questions we've probably missed the mark.


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wetair
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by wetair » June 23rd, 2010, 7:16 pm

The thing with cliches is that they change. Things go in and out of fashion. I mean, a decade ago it seemed like every romance I read had someone that made it rich on the stock-market. Now its vampires. So stuff that was cliched 20, 15 years ago is maybe not cliched anymore. That goes to phrasing, too, I think.

lmitchell
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by lmitchell » June 24th, 2010, 4:19 pm

Bryan Russell/Ink wrote:
Margo wrote: OMG, how could I forget??? Describing the main character by having him/her stand in front of or pass by a mirror or other reflective surface and pause to admire his/her own heart-shaped face or strong jaw and piercing blue/emerald green/chocolate brown/slate gray eyes and flowing/unruly cascades of hair.
Hey, I admire my strong jaw and piercing blue eyes all the time in real life. Is this bad?



:)
Oh, I'm sorry...what? I was distracted by a strong jaw and piercing blue eyes. *big cheesy grin*

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Heather B
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by Heather B » July 3rd, 2010, 10:50 pm

I am in the process of rereading my 'drawer MS' and the most common mistakes I've found are:

Using dialogs tags (a lot!)
Adverbs. Adverbs and adverbs.
Over describing things to the point of boredom
And the fact my MS came in at about 120K words (and there were still things I wanted to add)

As for mistakes in general, I queried WAY too early which of course resulted in a form rejection. 'Nuff said.
Journey to the Cuckoo's Nest

http://heathermbryant.blogspot.com.au/

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sarahdee
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by sarahdee » July 10th, 2010, 11:16 pm

1. Writing in dialect. For dialogue this is Ok but as mine is a first person view sometimes I reread my work and realise I've written whole chunks exactly the way I would say. So bad English, little punctuation and very localised terms/phrases that only a handful of people would get. Most my writing is actually re-writing.

2. Messing up tenses. I hate it when other people do this but for some reason I cannot pick up on my own work whether its reading on screen or paper. I flip from past to present.

3. Dialogue. I made the rookie mistake of not wanting to use 'she said he said' all the time so found marvellously complex ways of starting dialogue only to read a blog from Nathan that its actually ok, as people don't read the word 'said'. Now I look back and realise how silly my complex dialogue tags are.

4. Querying too soon. I took a lot of advice on the ms and I'm more or less happy with this. I realise, however, my synopsis and query were very hastily done as an afterthought, and am now working to get better versions of these prepared before sending of any more submissions.

Down the well
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by Down the well » July 11th, 2010, 9:56 am

sarahdee wrote:2. Messing up tenses. I hate it when other people do this but for some reason I cannot pick up on my own work whether its reading on screen or paper. I flip from past to present.
I know what you mean. I caught this in my ms yesterday--on a page I'd read a dozen times. Ugh.

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gdelao
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Re: Rookie Mistakes?

Post by gdelao » July 14th, 2010, 3:14 pm

sarahdee wrote:1. Writing in dialect. For dialogue this is Ok but as mine is a first person view sometimes I reread my work and realise I've written whole chunks exactly the way I would say. So bad English, little punctuation and very localised terms/phrases that only a handful of people would get. Most my writing is actually re-writing.

2. Messing up tenses. I hate it when other people do this but for some reason I cannot pick up on my own work whether its reading on screen or paper. I flip from past to present.

3. Dialogue. I made the rookie mistake of not wanting to use 'she said he said' all the time so found marvellously complex ways of starting dialogue only to read a blog from Nathan that its actually ok, as people don't read the word 'said'. Now I look back and realise how silly my complex dialogue tags are.

4. Querying too soon. I took a lot of advice on the ms and I'm more or less happy with this. I realise, however, my synopsis and query were very hastily done as an afterthought, and am now working to get better versions of these prepared before sending of any more submissions.
I totally can relate! Thanks for the post!

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