It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another Insecure Writers’ Support Group post.
This month’s question is not one I dwell on a lot. For fiction writers in particular, angst and insecurity come with the territory and spending too much time thinking about the many pitfalls depletes confidence and makes us a bit neurotic. That said, I have a question to answer…
I don’t have a list of pet peeves when it comes to reading because I simply stop reading around the third chapter if I am not engaged in a story. My TBR pile is tall and life is short.
***This is not a carefully curated list.***
Pet Peeve #1: Advice to authors to “just write”. Simplistic and condescending are my first reactions. Writing is a skill set as well as an art. Skill benefits from instruction. Practice is important, but it’s only one component.
Pet Peeve #2: Blanket application of writing “rules”, especially “grammar rules”, particularly when done with a heavy hand. Writing is an art as well as a skill set. Learn the rules well, but art involves interpretation. Those who don’t know the difference should refer to Pet Peeve #1.
Pet Peeve #3: Believing that your choices should be the choices of everyone. Learn to set aside your personal tastes in genre, construction etc. when editing or critiquing the work of someone else. If you can’t set them aside, then at the least make it clear upfront what your biases are.
I am interested in your pet peeves. Please share them in the comments below.
Definitely #1 — as if it were that simple sometimes. 🙂
“Simple” is generally a red warning flag. Nothing about writing is simple, in my experience. 🙂
I’m not sure that writing is very good when it’s done just to have fulfilled a word count for the day. I do keep a list of pet peeves. I’ve always found it very easy to dwell on what irritates me. I need to work on that.
I agree – pet peeves are easy to compile. Then, the frustrations start tainting everything.
I agree with you on the simplistic comments, like “just write.” The only person who can get away with that is my husband, who says that to push me past the fear-of-the-moment, “my-book-is-crap” craziness that happens every so often. But the most helpful commentary I’ve read to get me past that feeling is the one by Hemingway, which goes something like, “…all first drafts are crap.” 🙂
It depends on the context, right? It sounds like your husband is good at motivating you. 🙂
#3 is really interesting. I’ve found myself having to actively work at this when I’m bet reading/critiquing for others.
Critiquing is also a learned skill. There are good resources out there including this article by Randy Henderson http://cascadewriters.com/milford-style-workshopping/
Just write? Easy to say. There has to be some sort of strucure or else it can turn into a load of gobbledygook!
I think there’s a time and place for it, during free writing and stream-of-consciousness sessions. 🙂
Free writing is a great tool. It is the “just” part of the advice I take exception to. 🙂
Thanks for dropping by!