It’s time again, being the first Wednesday of the month, to admit my insecurities to the
few people bored enough to follow my blog world. Since I’ve made very little progress on my current WIPs (works in progress) due to my usual mindless distractions matters of global security, I’ve had to delve a little deeper down my list of stupid mistakes I make on a regular basis things I need to improve on and have come up with three things that I can’t seem to get into my thick skull have a really hard time with when I write. These are things that I must find a way to avoid WHILE I am writing so that I don’t end up burning the mistake laden rough draft while dancing around it chanting songs from my childhood shows between sips from my whiskey hat bong in an editing nightmare.
1. Tense Switch: It seems as though I can’t seem to make up my mind if my story is taking place in the past or in the present. I continuously switch back and fourth. I am totally unaware that I am even doing it and oftentimes, even when it’s pointed out to me, I have trouble spotting it. Is there a button on my computer that will make this easier?
2. Using “Tell” instead of “Show”: For those of you who are not familiar with the terms (as they apply to writing), it’s when the author tells you things he could have shown you instead. A good example is as follows:
Tell: It was raining outside and I ran to the house so as not to get wet.
Show: The minute I stepped out from the under the shelter of my car, the summer downpour pelted my hair and clothes with such force that by the time I had reached the porch steps, I was soaked to the skin.
I tend to narrate a story, rather than show the reader what’s going on in my world…in my imagination (as creepy and horrific as it gets at times).
3. Using the same word to start sentences (he, she, the). It’s much harder to come up with other ways to start the sentences, but I guess I am lazy. I’ll give you an example so you know exactly what I mean.
Lazy way: “He woke up with a really bad headache. He reached over and turned off the alarm clock and got out of bed. He went into the kitchen and took 2 pain killers in hopes of relieving his headache.” In this example, I used “he” to start all 3 sentences as well as using the word “headache” twice. When a writer is too repetitive, it interrupts the natural flow of the story. You want the reader to be lost in your story, not focusing on grammar issues that shouldn’t be there to begin with.
Better way: “The alarm clock rang out and Daniel (or whatever his name is) quickly reached over and turned it off, squinting as the noise and sunlight peeking through his bedroom drapes made the pain in his head even more apparent. Dragging his legs to the edge of the bed, he slowly stood up and made his way to the kitchen to take something for his headache.”
See the difference?
What mistakes do YOU make over and over again?