Tuesday, January 20, 2009

10 Things I Hate About Writing Habits

Since I was doing some late night writing tonight anyway, I thought I’d share my wandering thoughts on what distinctive habits I’ve formed in my writing. I’m always trying to improve, and the things I list here have recently – though some things I’m constantly aware of – caught my attention. While most things on this list are things I am working on, some of them are just pet peeves, of which I am not usually guilty.

#1) I use parentheses way too much. Just read through some of my past blogs, you’ll see. Even then, if I weren’t writing about how I am a parentheses abuser, I would have put that second sentence in parentheses.

#2) I used to abuse the use of commas but I have since tamed that tendency. I wouldn’t say I have the technique mastered, though.

#3) I used to think you shouldn’t use contractions. Period. Should not. He is. There is. Do not. You are. Etc… Silly, I know. I do think, however, that most sentences can be cleaned up when contractions are extracted.

#4) I like using the dash for affect – like this – it works.

#5) I always question whether I should use affect or effect in a sentence.

#6) I try to avoid adverbs. That’s lazy people descriptive writing – for the most part. (Notice the dash in that sentence, but oh! I used parentheses. You win some you lose some.)

#7) I really hate the word “got” and try to avoid it at all costs. The same goes for the word "that," but I'm worse at recognizing it the first time around.

#8) I once argued with somebody about whether or not it’s proper to say “there did.” I’ll give you the context. He said: “There used to be a store over there.” I said: “Yeah, there did.” I still think I was in the right in using that choice of a past tense verb.

#9) If I am in the right mood, I can be an abuser of the three-dot trailing thought. Many times when I read over things I have written, I see the … and it could easily be replaced with a simple “.” Why not conserve?

#10) I am not fond of run-on sentences. Because of this, I may write a bit choppy. If I have to choose though, I'll choose choppy any day.


Randall said...

I like you're writing a lot, Karen (although, I wouldn't have though of all those things.) You've got a way with words. I heard some one say that the other day in fact, they said "There did happen to be a blog by Karen, and in it, she's using all kinds of correct grammar." I then read this blog, and let me tell you, It - was - weird...

UNFORTUNATELY, Karen, who didn't, or shouldn't have, written this post (but of course, we all know she did) couldn't have realized that it got her cousin into the idea of using - yes, using - all of her pet peaves in one, very long (but not too long, just long enough) run-on sentence...

If I knew what an adverb was, I would've tried to use one of those in there too.

Carla said...

hilarious Randy!