I’ve been writing fiction on and off since I was a teenager (back in the day I used to write fanfic) but I never took it seriously until a couple of years ago. Me? A writer? Nah. Wait, actually… I’ve still got a lot to learn but here are 5 annoying habits to avoid when writing fiction – mistakes I’ve found I’ve been making when looking back over chapters I’ve written from the past couple of years.
* Not using grammar when writing dialogue, eg. “hello, there’s a cat over there” < where’s the capital letter or full stop? Exactly. It might be a fun and quick way to write when you’re against the clock in a writing sprint but not so fun when you have to go back editing every single one to add in all the grammar. Or maybe that *is* what first drafts are for and I’m just a lazy editor…
* Starting off new chapters in present tense then reverting to past, this is a really weird habit of mine and I still find myself doing it now!
* Not keeping a proper note of which file relates to which part of the story so when I went back to edit them I was just staring into a sea of documents (more than 50 of them) not knowing entirely where to start or even what order they were in.
* Following on from the point above, having more than one document for a chapter, I did have reasons for this during NaNo last year (a new day, meant starting a new document or even for a new sprint I’d start a new document some of the time) I had this habit of needing to read everything back before I could close the documents at the end of the evening, so if I’d kept continuing my story without starting afresh with a new document… let’s just say it would have taken me forever to go to bed! I’m glad I don’t feel the need to do that anymore, especially since I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month.
* Not writing in any sort of order and ending up with a lot of different scenes rather than something that flows from chapter to chapter… I’m working on sorting that one out now too.
So yes they are the writing habits that I’m trying to break (the last one is probably inevitable though if you’re not pre-planning what you want to write for the story). In fact right now I am writing *everything* in one file for Camp so then I’ll be able to slot the paragraphs into the correct chapters later while keeping track of my word count for the month (see how much I’ve moved on from point 4).
Then there’s still the fact my characters always want to “flop” down into a seat… flop, flop, flop. I need to come up with better words for characters to sit haha! And how many times do I need to use the word just or the word it’s?!
Do you have any annoying writing habits you’re trying to break?