Foetal Writer – My list of baby steps.

fashion faux pas

This is my writing. (Photo credit: Judy **) But I’m working on it πŸ™‚

It’s not all joy and expansive prose when you’re new at this writing schnizzle. Sometimes it just plain sucks. I’ve made a list of all the things I’m good at and all the things I’m struggling with. These are the things where I need to engage the force and shut up and just get on with it!

Good At:-

1. Procrastination. I’m sure that draw needs re-organising, the cat needs feeding and if really in a rut, I may even talk to the husband.

2. Using the words:- Turned, saw, look, looked, began, begin/s, started, while (and whilst, I like to mix things up y’know?), was, had, told, knew and heard.Β  – I opened Scrivener to see how many words I had in my search list and trust me, – this wasn’t all of them.

3. Editing, because I can’t get past Chapter twenty-two.

4. Fear of finishing (hmm linked to number three above) and the ensuing fear of failure to sell any books because I’ll have to talk to lots of people and be nice and let’s face it the reason I write is because I’m a bit of a depressed loner.

Baby Steps:-

1. Dialogue tags:- I forget the rules and no-one should use that many descriptions of the word said, often with an adverb. I counted seven in one particular piece of dialogue, they sounded like bad thespians rather than characters, she whispered quietly – err DOH!

2. Getting in and out of rooms. My characters seem to get stuck by some invisible force sometimes in doorways or in front of doors. It’s really difficult getting them in and out of blasted rooms.

3. Action:- Now this is the sticky bit. If an arrow pierces a shield the reader knows that it didn’t pierce the person in the next sentence because it’s in the shield. I do this a lot. I’ve taken to watching u-tube action sequences and listening to swordplay. I’m also learning a lot about archery so that I get it right. Especially, because you just know if you don’t know this stuff, someone is going to nicely point out you got it wrong, wrong, wrong….

4. Moving the story on, there’s a lot I need readers to know and whilst I am desperately trying to show not tell, I sometimes do a little too much back story… Mystery is my friend, readers are surprised not, Oh I knew that was going to happen five chapters ago. If they’re still there….

So these are my failures and my top faux pas. What did/do you struggle with?

Comments, as always, welcome.

17 thoughts on “Foetal Writer – My list of baby steps.

  1. When I edit I have to go back and cross out the word ‘just’ over and over. Just ridiculous. See? For me the hardest thing is settling down and letting myself imagine the scenes for however long it takes before even beginning to write.

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  3. I think i coincide with most of your points. And every writer can relate to procrastination πŸ™‚
    I struggle with the dialogue tags too, it’s obviously bad to write “he said…she said” constantly, but it is just bad if not worse to thesaurus-ify and say “he said…she replied… he commented…she added etc”. In a long dialogue it’s ok to drop them and use one or two occasionally to remind the reader who is speaking, and i also break it up by a few physical actions. but this leads to an excess of smiling, standing, pausing,sighing etc. It’s hard to get right, and oh so easy to get very wrong.

    • Your comment made me laugh, you’d be surprised how itchy my characters are she said scratching her nose and pausing. Thanks RG, it’s always nice to know you are not the only one.

      • LOL at itchy characters! Mine are too smiley. I have made it work for me aswell though. One character smoothed her hair early on and i noticed she was nervous at the time. So later on, i saw that she did it again and i used it as a shortcut way of expressing her nerves without me having to write “she asked nervously” or even worse “Gina felt nervous”. I don’t overuse it, but by saying “she said, her hand finding its way to her hair” i can slip the “said” in unnoticed.

  4. Can I plead to all the above? lol. I have a horrible fear of finishing, especially if I think it is any good (because then other people can pass judgement on my baby.) When that happens I usually go for a run or something and quietly berate myself for being a wuss and then get on with it. I’m getting better though, haven’t had a run like that in a month!

    And I am beginning to notice difficulties with doorways… just this morning someone struck a force field and got a nasty bump on the nose. But it comes along as I weave between a pantser wishing he was a plotter and vice versa.

      • Sometimes real life really can suck… I try to remember that I would, overall, prefer it continue though πŸ™‚

        And no, you’re not the only one. I’m fairly certain that at some point in history an architect and a writer got married and the architect designed doorways just to irritate her husband!

    • Hi Kelsie, It’s remembering that explaining everything in great detail is boring when moving it forward but nothing at all breaks the immersion too. It ends up sounding jumpy. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Sarah–I can relate to so much of this (the social aspect in particular, which has begun to wear) and can’t believe I didn’t remark sooner. I sympathize with the “repeated word find”; I have found my own list of party crashers that show up again and again (little bastids) and was all set to first remember (lol) and then transcribe whatever brilliant formula I have for editing through to end, when I glanced at a short story I wrote recently sitting neglected to the side of my typing fingers. (I have edited so piecemeal I will for sure have to do it all over again)

    Hang in there. Did I mention going for a run? (in other direction of computer, hehe) Have a _________ day!! πŸ™‚

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