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.