Why I’m on the Naughty Writers List

It’s Blogmas day two! I hope everyone had a great Friday. I still can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. It still feels like 2017.

For my second Blogmas post, I thought I’d throw myself under the bus. You know, for fun. I hope you enjoy it.

As writers, we’re all told the “Rules” we should follow when writing. Most of them can be taken with a grain of salt. Sure, some guidelines can be helpful when you’re first starting out, and I think that a lot of the time these arbitrary assertions are circulated in an effort to turn poor writers into better ones by encouraging them to strip away the cliches, the tropes and the adverbs. But the “rules” aren’t hard and fast ones, and I’ve seen the greats like Stephen King and JK Rowling breaking them in the best ways. However, some of my writing habits would land me on the naughty writers list….

For example:

I Don’t Always Consider Character Motivation

When writing my first drafts, I just write what I like. I don’t get to know my MC as well as I should when putting down the first words. She just floats through my stories while things happen around her which can make her a boring and stiff representation of a person. I think characters should be the driving force of a story, and in order for that to happen, the writer needs to know what their character wants, needs, and fears.

I Tend to Overcomplicate My Plots

I love subplots and hiding clues in plain sight through a story’s twists and turns. I live for a good GOTCHA moment where everything ties together in the most poetic and bone chilling way, but those sorts of stories require a certain finesse. But for my books, I get a little lost in the subplot weeds. I have always admired JK Rowling’s ability to weave so many characters and subplots into the Harry Potter series (she’s an inspiration), and someday I hope to be that good. For now, I’ll try sticking to only one or two subplots per story…. ok three. No, Robin, TWO.

I Don’t Write Every Day

Some writers would shame me for this, and others would say it’s not needed. I do think this rule is unique to the writer, but I think this lands me on the naughty list because I know that writing every day is important for me. It helps keep me motivated, just to show up every day. I used to keep a journal in my high school years, and I miss that dedication to writing. I’ll add that to the list of things I want to accomplish in 2019. 

I Don’t Read Enough

Do not get me wrong, I LOVE reading. I read often, and I would choose books over any other gift. I think books are magic. And I should; I want to write them! But I don’t read enough. I read maybe 10-15 books per year. Which to some of you might sound like a lot or it might sound a pitiful sum, but to me it’s not nearly the number it should be. Reading makes your writing better, and for that reason if nothing else (i.e. how much I enjoy it), I should be reading all the books I buy.

I Slip into Passive Voice

This is probably the worst of my bad habits. Passive voice is not final draft worthy, and I find myself writing in it too frequently. There are few rules I believe need to be stuck to, but writing in active voice is one of them. I’ll let you know when I master that one. If you aren’t sure how to spot passive voice, I found a helpful post about it here. Do you find yourself writing this way, too?

I Abandon My WIP’s

This ranks up there with passive voice. Might even be the number one reason I’m on the Naughty Writer’s List. So this time I’m determined not to give up on my WIP. Next installment of Bright Beautiful Things is coming, I promise the writing gods. And you, I promise you, too.

It’s your turn! What writing habits do you have that put you on the Naughty List? 

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