Monday, April 11, 2011

Blind Spots in Writing

I am currently working with an editor on a book that will be published in upcoming months. I won't mention its name here, because it's a fairly racy romance. And when I say racy, you know I mean dirty, right? Anyhoo, working with an editor is fantastic because she sees my blind spots. And here they are: 



1. Passive sentences. 

I love passive sentences! My brain meanders, and, therefore, so does my prose. I don't want to say "The car hit Timmy". I want to say "Timmy was hit by the car". But as my editor points out, overuse of passive sentences slows down the narrative. Except, because she's an editor, she said it much better than that. 

2. Commas. 

I have a comma addiction. I love them so much that I sprinkle them through my work like fairy dust. I think its because a teacher once made the mistake of telling me that commas are where your readers would take a breath. I took it very much to heart. And nobody dies on my watch, dammit! 

Those are my two biggest blind spots in writing. What are yours? 

18 comments:

  1. Oh, I just got slammed in a critique for passive voice as well. I like to say "was thinking" or whatever. I had to clean up my "was" fixation and make the sentences more direct. Most of them anyway. Sometimes a passive sentence suits the flow, IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad to see your novel's moving along.

    And funny – I thought you said, “it's a fairy racy romance.” As in Thumbalina and Titania out cruising the bars. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It would be too much incidental action during dialogue for me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. LG, I agree! I will never get over my secret love for passive voice. You're right about the way it flows. I just need to learn to spread them out a bit more.

    ReplyDelete
  5. MC, I may just have to steal that idea!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Margo, that's an interesting one. Do you mean like having the characters do something, so you don't have to rely on voice tags? Because I do that as well, but my editor let it slide!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have no idea how often I enjoy comma splices because I heard the same thing. I also pause often thanks to my public speaking professor and my need for long Jane Austen style sentences.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Steph, you sound like my kind of writer!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Filtering is my issue. Also, apparently my character is too in touch with her feelings. I'm raising my eyebrow on that one. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, Caroline, that is an interesting criticism! I'm also wondering what it means!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Haha, I have the same problem with commas! My main problem, however, is too many "and"s. If I'm not careful my writing ends up sounding less literary, and more like the drive through guy in Dude Where's My Car. Ooof!

    ReplyDelete
  12. i'm not sure of my blind spots -- as i'm blind to them, i guess. certainly, on the larger scale, i am always guilty of slooooow beginnings. but i LIKE them, dammit.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Brit, doooode! And she was all like, and I was all like...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ben, that's where an extra set of eyes is useful! Also, I like slow beginnings as well. I like being lulled into a false sense of security, and getting to know characters before the action. Or maybe I'm just bad at opening with action!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oops, sorry, Jen. I didn't see that you'd asked me a question. Yeah, exactly. I tend to put too much of it in during the first draft, though. It's hard to sustain tension with each line of dialogue separated by six or seven lines of incidental action and interior monologue (as an extreme example).

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh, Margo, I am guilty of that as well!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I sometimes forget that stories are to entertain; that they aren't just a playground for playing with words and characters. So I have to really work hard at some of my happy endings.

    Also, I use semi-colons way too often. I can't help it; they make sentences hold hands. And that's adooooorablllllle...

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...