#IWSG Pet Peeves

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and
concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who
 have been through the fire can offer assistance
and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
It's time for the August edition of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. This month's prompt:

What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?


Pet peeves must be one of the best discussion points known to man. I mean, I can come up with a long list of things that annoy me about virtually any topic. Annoyance is, sadly, my default state of being. The pet peeve is my constant companion. So I'll break these out by category listed in the prompt.


Pet Peeves When Reading


Repetition: I'm not talking about the kind of repetition used as a literary device though I can't say I'd miss that terribly either. I'm reading A Tale of Two Cities aloud to my daughter at present and I must confess I sometimes skip the repeat sentences. That's some kind of literary crime, I know. I can see the beauty in Dickens use of repetition. "Madam Defarge was knitting, knitting, knitting," and all that. I just don't have the patience for it. My pet peeve is when an author gets stuck on a word, usually an adjective. For pages everything will be "copacetic" and it's a word that really stands out so every time it's used after the first instance is like fingers on a chalkboard. Get a thesaurus!

Typos: This needs no explanation. It happens to us all sometimes but repeat offenders that continually slaughter our language need to be put in some kind of remedial communication course that prevents them from blogging until they can spell and use appropriate homonyms.

Stories that end with the main character realizing he/she has been dead the whole time. The last horror movie I ever watched was The Sixth Sense. I've never recovered from Bruce Willis letting that ring drop or whatever actually happened because I wasn't looking at the screen. I consoled myself by reading my package of Snow Caps over and over. I thought I'd left the "we're all ghosts" thing in the movie theater until I finished the last Jodi Piccoult book I'll ever read. Several characters realized they'd been dead the whole time in that one. I find it to be a cheap ending. It's like having a wild story that turns out to have been a dream. I feel robbed and there's nothing worse than feeling robbed after putting the time into reading a whole novel.


Pet Peeves When Writing


Time: I have difficulty with the passage of time in my stories. This could be due to my lack of training. Do they teach you strategies to pass time in those fancy graduate degree programs? It causes me problems with my pet peeve of repetition because my characters are always waking up in the morning at the start of each chapter. I also tend to tell stories quickly. I'm always looking for a way to slow it down.

Description: I'm not a terribly observant person. The number of times I've said, "I don't know, I don't look at people," is by now impressively or frighteningly huge. I'd make a terrible crime scene witness. My husband knows I won't tell him if he's got spinach in his teeth. I don't see it. I also can't describe smells even though I sure notice them enough. So it pains me to slow down and paint that word picture in my writing. I'd much rather put a disclaimer out that says, "imagine this how you'd like it to be, k?"

Distraction: There is a certain somebody that's home from school for the summer and seems to love to talk to me when I'm writing. Sometimes I'll begin reading aloud as I write, but hints are no use. I hear myself saying, "can you go somewhere else?" Then I feel guilty. So that's fun.

Pet Peeves When Editing

General Insecurity: Typically, when I reread something of mine I think, "wow, this is really great. I mean, such good stuff. Way to go me!" I fix mistakes, clarify, and whatnot. Then I take a break from editing and the neurosis begins. Did it make sense? Did it get my point across? You know what? It's all wrong. I realize it now. This has all been a big mistake. Then I re-reread and feel temporarily reassured. The cycle repeats until eventually I publish and retreat to cower under my bed in terror.
Microsoft Grammar Suggestions: I should just turn that stuff off.

Time: Editing takes longer than writing. Also, its no where near as fun as writing, but it can make or break the whole project. Really there should be a number 4 here that says, "Editing stinks."


Your turn. Any pet Peeves you'd like to share?

14 comments:

  1. I like your list, Joey. You brought up many points I hadn't thought about. I like the distraction one best as being a writer, sometimes our stories pop in and take over our brains and I get so upset when I am yanked out of that thought at times. I agree too on the adjective. I know I have been sucked into that mistake myself. Have a great rest of your week.

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    1. My character made spaghetti for dinner every time ANY food was mentioned in my novel. During my final edit I noticed this and added a little variety to her life!

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  2. Good list--typos, insecurity--I agree with all of this!

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  3. Hilarious list! Love the "Get a thesaurus!" advice. Sometimes I get enthralled by a cool word and thank goodness for beta readers and editors squelching the repetition of them in my manuscript. I also have major problems with writing clear timelines--another area my editor has helped.

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    1. Thank goodness for editors! I don't think it's even possible to see some of the problems that can arise when you read your own work.

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  4. Aw come on... tell us what you really think. :) You've come up with a great list of pet peeves. The one about the overused adjective especially resonates with me. Ditto for overused descriptions. Like in one book I read, the author described a woman's hair as being the color of a new penny. I thought that was GREAT... until the writer used the same darned description half a dozen more times to describe other things, as well. It kinda lost its punch after the first time...

    It's nice to meet ya. Count me in as your newest groupie.

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    1. Perhaps a thesaurus of descriptive phrases is in order. You type "the color of a new penny" and it says, "orange, it's just orange."

      Nice to meet you too! Welcome and please don't be alarmed when you figure out that the sum total of Big Teeth groupies is two. (The other one is my mom.)

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    2. HA! Never underestimate the power of a mom. :)

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  5. Description isn't my thing either, in reading or in writing. I call it being a bare bones writer. I've gotten better, but probably still not enough.

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  6. I have the same list, but in a different order. Social media gives me social anxiety because of my paranoia with editing. Because, I'm an editor. I check and recheck my writing about editing like the neurotic compulsive I morph into. Every. Time. Ha! Great post.

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  7. Great list, Joey. I guess I haven't read enough books that end with "it was all a dream" or "we're all dead" (except Lost) to get annoyed. Repetition, typos, etc. get me every time.

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  8. Editing is a mixed bag for me. I love the process of fixing things, making the text tighter, cleaner, all that, but damn if I don't end up getting lost in the story and miss some of the most ridiculous errors.

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  9. I love this list and relate to so much of what you wrote! In particular, editing definitely stinks. :) Writing is the fun part.

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