Writing Habits to Be Avoided At All Costs

lazy-college-senior-my-rough-draft

As an author, it wasn’t until I took up writing seriously back in 1995 that I finally appreciated just how many of today’s books are the end product of lazy writing practises. A classic example is the endless use of things like, ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ when your characters are speaking. This is perfectly acceptable when writing the initial draft of your book. But never ever let them endlessly appear in the final draft. Once you have been picked up on it and other examples of literary lazyness by your harshest critics (your readers), until you mend your ways and the use of tools like your Dictionary and Thesaurus becomes second nature, don’t be surprised at the loss of your potential readership. The harsh reality of the writing world is that readers either make or break you! If one person likes your work, they will soon tell their friends, particularly these days with Social Media Sites like FaceBook and Twitter. By the same token. the opposite will apply if the end product of your work is unmitigated rubbish, chock full of errors!

Up until I began writing, the concept of ‘Lazy Writing’ hadn’t even entered my mind. Back then, like millions of other readers, the only thing that mattered to me was whether or not the story grabbed my attention. Some authors, be they ‘Indie’ or ‘Establishment’ are equally guilty when it comes to literary laziness, the same can be said for some editors. In all three cases, there is no acceptable excuse.Β  Another glaring example of the sheer lazyness prevelant in today’s literature is the endless repetetion of certain words, along with foul language. While the above may be socially acceptable when talking with family and friends, if you are a writer, it certainly isn’t!

Regarding foul language and poor writing practices, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey is the classic example. While it may appeal to a certain base section of the world’s population who know no better, to anyone who holds the written word dear as I do, it is anathema.Β  Despite the fact that the book has become a best seller and is soon to become a movie, it will never be held up as a shining example of ‘best writing practice’ by any literary critic or scholar worth their salt.

Lastly, as a writer, you must be your own harshest critic as well as being an extremely tough editor. If you are wondering why your books simply don’t appeal, take a long hard look at your final draft. I’m betting that it is full of glaring literary error’s.

PS – If you are wondering how many times I edited/rewrote this post, it was well over three dozen before I finally hit the Publish button…

23 thoughts on “Writing Habits to Be Avoided At All Costs

  1. No foul language? Are you sure about that? What if your character uses foul language? If you’re not speaking to the truth of your character, that is a very big problem. Your own linguistic proclivities should not interfere with what the people in your stories are trying to say.

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  2. Just to clear up the issue regarding the spelling of the word being spoken about, here in the UK practises is correct according the English version of the Oxford English Dictionary. Practices is the US spelling. If ‘Postcard Poems and Prose’ had bothered to check, he would have known that…

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  3. Three dozen and still a lower case letter on the first word of a sentence. It happens to the best of us.
    I go through my finished works occasionally and even if only one period is found to be missing I upload it again. I’m hoping eventually every one is perfect. Being the only set of eyes willing to look over my “finished” product I have no other choice.
    I have read good stories with glaring errors, and awful stories presented perfectly. I no longer mark down my star ratings for reviews if there are errors because reading Kindle and publishing Kindle have shown me that an error free manuscript can have many created in the Kindle upload conversion. It takes time and investigation to find how they can be minimized.
    With the books it’s constant monitoring and listening to those harshest critics for improvements that can be made. No book is ever written in stone, I have found. Professional writers always seek perfection.

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  4. Ah. What you said would have been true if it was the first word of a new sentence Judith. What was incorrect there, was that I inserted a full stop/period instead of a comma, which I have now done. πŸ™‚

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