What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

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BransfordGroupie
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What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by BransfordGroupie » April 14th, 2010, 9:35 pm

I've written my novel in the first person (past tense). So for me it seems that as I am editing, I am noticing way too may I's, my's and me's. It seems I must have noticed this somewhere along the writing process (this is my first attempt at writing - ever - so I know I have a lot to learn). In order to avoid I's, my's and me's, I began starting a lot of sentences with ing words. And now that is bugging me.

What are you finding most annoying about your own writing?
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gonzo2802
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by gonzo2802 » April 14th, 2010, 9:49 pm

When I started a hard core edit of my first ever fully written manuscript, I realized it was so stinking long (150,000 words) because I felt the need to take full paragraphs to explain things that could easily be understood in a single sentence. It wasn't until I sat back and read it -- really read it -- that I realized I was treating the reader like they were dumb.

Now my story sits at 84,000 and is a much more enjoyable read. And I feel like a noob for having spent so long writing so many pointless words!

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by Bohemienne » April 14th, 2010, 9:50 pm

Ugh. I have FAR too many -ing clauses. As does my critique buddy. But in a way, we help each other--when we notice how jarring it is in each other's work, we're more mindful of it in our own! I also keep falling back on "safe" words/descriptions for things. I have to poke myself to remind me to find a fresh way to describe it.

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by wildheart » April 14th, 2010, 10:26 pm

One thing that bothers me the most? My scenes need to be fleshed out more. My writing is so tight, too tight, and that is hurting the story. Certain things need to be explained better. It's like I get so excited about what I am writing I don't take my time with it. Then the scene is over and I am annoyed because I have gone through so much story in so little space. I envy the people that have long manuscipts. I have yet to reach the 60,000 word mark- ever.

And it is really starting to bug me.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by tameson » April 14th, 2010, 10:39 pm

wildheart- I have a similar problem. I edited in over 20k words in the my first draft (57k to 84k) and I imagine it will get longer as I go through and focus on adding descriptions. Plenty of time to edit and add more stuff.

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by KellyWittmann » April 14th, 2010, 10:57 pm

Oh, I'm terrible with em dashes. My agent made me go through my latest manuscript and replace most of them with semicolons. Part of me is embarrassed by it, but part of me feels that it is my natural way of writing. Also, there's smoking. It is a bad habit in both my real life and my writing. I simply must start writing non-smoking protagonists, but I don't want to. It's a crutch.

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by Sommer Leigh » April 14th, 2010, 11:22 pm

I didn't even know I had this little problem until after I started editing my current manuscript and my husband and I sat down to go paragraph by paragraph reading it out loud.

Oh god. For some insane reason I sometimes rhyme. My husband calls it the Dr. Seuss Phenomenon.I never noticed it until we were editing and now I catch myself mysteriously choosing words that, oh sure, seem to flow great. You know, because they RHYME. It doesn't happen often, but it is sort of humiliating. Like I should know better.

This wouldn't be a problem, maybe, for some stories. Except that mine is a post-apocalyptic YA horror where there is something just plain wrong with zombies that lay down rhythmic verse.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by Harper Karcz » April 14th, 2010, 11:26 pm

I think mine may be more of an overarching disorder rather than just a pet peeve, but I'll bite anyway. My prose always sounds nice, but it's attached to scenes -- and sometimes whole novels -- that don't go anywhere. No conflict, no goals, no wants, nothing. I've honed my writing skills without honing my storytelling skills at the same rate. Bah.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by wildheart » April 15th, 2010, 3:22 am

tameson wrote:wildheart- I have a similar problem. I edited in over 20k words in the my first draft (57k to 84k) and I imagine it will get longer as I go through and focus on adding descriptions. Plenty of time to edit and add more stuff.
Thanks for that. It's nice to know I am not the only one that feels this way, or that has this problem. I guess I have this issue with wanting the perfect first draft. I know it doesn't exsist, but it still bugs me when I can't pull it off! I'm going to try and just keep pushing myself. When I finish then I can worry about everything I screwed up.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by knight_tour » April 15th, 2010, 3:32 am

My biggest problem that I am aware of is that I have trouble stretching out tension/suspense. I resolve things a bit too easily. And, when I look at how I can stretch these things, I end up not liking the solutions because they seem contrived.

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by wildheart » April 15th, 2010, 3:58 am

knight_tour wrote:My biggest problem that I am aware of is that I have trouble stretching out tension/suspense. I resolve things a bit too easily. And, when I look at how I can stretch these things, I end up not liking the solutions because they seem contrived.
Oh yeah, I have this problem too! I guess its just something that will get better as we grow as writers.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by KappaP » April 15th, 2010, 4:50 am

The linguist in me HAS to describe body language when in dialogue. I can't not do it. When I finished my ms it was almost 130K.... now it's at 104K and honestly 80% of what I took out was just descriptions of what people were doing with hands, expressions, etc. Had to find ways to incorporate those sentiments into the dialogue itself or recognize when body language didn't add anything.

I also way over use this sentence type: "I typed out the sentence and reread it, thinking to myself it sounded strange." I realized I tend to THINK in that sentence structure, so the first draft was chock full of it to an almost distracting degree.
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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by eringayles » April 15th, 2010, 5:18 am

BransfordGroupie wrote:I've written my novel in the first person (past tense). So for me it seems that as I am editing, I am noticing way too may I's, my's and me's. It seems I must have noticed this somewhere along the writing process (this is my first attempt at writing - ever - so I know I have a lot to learn). In order to avoid I's, my's and me's, I began starting a lot of sentences with ing words. And now that is bugging me.

What are you finding most annoying about your own writing?
Imagery turns me on. Get this (before editing):

'But the ocean carried an aura of the deepest evil. It was a clotted purple mass - not the consistency of water but of heavy mercury.It didn't flow or swell or even churn. It bulged. Solid hills and mountains of the stuff rose abruptly. Some rivalled tsunamis - higher than the cliff, but only a few meters wide - giant opaque lumps like brain tumors dancing on a skull.
As I watched, the highest rearranged itself, forming a point at its apex. It looked more like a tongue, now - but then flattening, bending at right angles to the body. Two slits gouged themselves into the bend, frowning and glowing gold. The point split into a mouth, and from the mouth flicked the forked tongue of a giant serpant.
Urine-coloured eyes studied me, and the mouth smiled a warning as it sucked itself back like bubble-gum, into its labrynth.'

I've got loads of this stuff - all being harshly edited. But it hurts!

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by bronwyn1 » April 15th, 2010, 9:10 am

I have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of super long sentences (like at least 40+ words) all strung together. So as I edit, I try to find ways to split these sentences up.

Also, I have way too many -ing clauses, sometimes three -ing clauses in a row. That and I noticed too as I edited that I didn't know how to use semicolons. I forgot who said it, but I read somewhere something to the tune of "overuse/misuse of semicolons makes your writing look like a crying ten-year-old wearing black mascara"

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Re: What are your pet peeves about your own writing?

Post by Holly » April 15th, 2010, 9:21 am

eringayles wrote:
BransfordGroupie wrote:I've written my novel in the first person (past tense). So for me it seems that as I am editing, I am noticing way too may I's, my's and me's. It seems I must have noticed this somewhere along the writing process (this is my first attempt at writing - ever - so I know I have a lot to learn). In order to avoid I's, my's and me's, I began starting a lot of sentences with ing words. And now that is bugging me.

What are you finding most annoying about your own writing?
Imagery turns me on. Get this (before editing):

'But the ocean carried an aura of the deepest evil. It was a clotted purple mass - not the consistency of water but of heavy mercury.It didn't flow or swell or even churn. It bulged. Solid hills and mountains of the stuff rose abruptly. Some rivalled tsunamis - higher than the cliff, but only a few meters wide - giant opaque lumps like brain tumors dancing on a skull.
As I watched, the highest rearranged itself, forming a point at its apex. It looked more like a tongue, now - but then flattening, bending at right angles to the body. Two slits gouged themselves into the bend, frowning and glowing gold. The point split into a mouth, and from the mouth flicked the forked tongue of a giant serpant.
Urine-coloured eyes studied me, and the mouth smiled a warning as it sucked itself back like bubble-gum, into its labrynth.'

I've got loads of this stuff - all being harshly edited. But it hurts!

eringayles, I love you... I am laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes. Hey, there's some good stuff in there, though... I like those bulges and the urine-colored eyes.

Me: all my characters talk the same way... mothers, sons, young, old, southerners, northerners... they could all be the same person.

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