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View Full Version : What Drives you Nuts, Writing-Wise?



Fruitbat
02-12-2011, 12:42 AM
Right, nobody asked us to do it. Etcetera.

But still, what (or who) about it gets on your nerves?

Fruitbat
02-12-2011, 12:45 AM
What gets on my nerves is that in every group there just has to be a writer who likes to announce "the answer" to any given question. Of course this person will be no more accomplished than anyone else in the group. Know nothing know-it-alls drive me nuts.

*punishment ideas welcome. ;o)

Amberly
02-12-2011, 05:18 AM
ohh, i love plotting vengence...

what drives me nuts is that friend who knows all the "rules" and insists you follow them. Like:

"A main character has to be the first one you introduce"

"Your town can't sound like a persons name"

"Queries are never more than 250 words long"

And so on,
Who said? really honestly for every rule there is an exception and a friend should help you become the exception not hound you about the rules.
Don't get me wrong constructive info is great, put-downs are annoying.

As for punishments... write down what they say and make them eat it. he he he.

telford
02-12-2011, 06:40 AM
Good post Fruitbat.

What drives me nuts is, well, me. I can be writing away, in the zone, then bamb, I get swallowed by a black hole. The next brilliant (?) word that I was about to type, ah, hang on, I mean, it, erh... oh yes of course, it disappears as my mind scrams. At times like that I really need a sound proof room to work in.

muravyets
02-12-2011, 06:56 AM
My own mind. Especially on days like today, when it refuses to focus but also refuses to shut up, when I'm interested in just about everything except what I'm supposed to be working on. It's like I've been possessed by the mind of a kitten.

Snowstorm
02-12-2011, 07:07 AM
Being interrupted. Just leave me alone! Is that so hard!?

Augh!

Duchessmary
02-12-2011, 07:21 AM
I have to agree! Whether it's barking dogs, loud neighbors, a pesky family, can't you see that I'm trying to create a masterpiece?????
*&@#

LOG
02-12-2011, 07:54 AM
Misspelling words by accident even when I know the correct spelling because of how I type. Or worse, when I see words misspelled as something they sound like, like when that one author spelled 'entry' as 'entree,' with the diacritic...

s.m.s
02-12-2011, 08:09 AM
When I get to the point where I think that my story is just stupid and silly and then I move on to the next, hopefully better project without finishing.

entropic island
02-12-2011, 08:56 AM
Accidental plot holes. Big ones.

Gugland
02-12-2011, 09:27 AM
When I shelve something because of time constraints or dead-ends, or whatever other reason...then go back to it and think it sucks, and either fixing it or starting over both feel like I'm missing whatever point felt so important the first time around, leaving me worse off then when I first shelved the project in the first place.

That, and run-on sentences.

Pyekett
02-12-2011, 09:42 AM
Verbs.

Atlantis
02-12-2011, 10:11 AM
Chapters that are a paragraph long that do not have any structure to them. That irritates me. I also get annoyed when people feel compelled to critique my work as I'm working. Sometimes I'll sit on the couch next to my partner Jay and type and he will watch what I'm doing and shout 'You spelt that word wrong!' or he'll read a sentence of mine out loud in a confused voice and tell me it doesn't make sense to him. I usually glare at him and he'll giggle and ask me if he's been annoying.

STKlingaman
02-12-2011, 10:43 AM
Delving to deeply into a character to quickly,
so you either love them and want to know more,
or close the book and move on to another.

er . . . that may be reading wise.

I love my writing/storytelling, and when it
comes time to edit I'm adding more ideas,
plot twists, evil shenanigans & dialog.
I rarely edit down.

jaksen
02-12-2011, 06:47 PM
Being interrupted. Just leave me alone! Is that so hard!?

Augh!

This.

But it's the cost of falling in love, getting married, having kids, their having kids, and still being a child at the same time you're a parent-spouse-friend-sister-neighbor-colleague etc. etc. etc.

I am a would-be writing hermit who got caught up in a social world, but please, some days...

JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!

Undercover
02-12-2011, 07:03 PM
That I'm telling and not showing, when I wanna show em a thing or two. LOL

kaitie
02-12-2011, 09:38 PM
I'm gonna have to go with not knowing what's going to happen. I've always managed to sort it out before I get there, but I like to know where things are going so I can make sure I'm plotting correctly. There's always at least one aspect of the story that holds out until the very last second and has me wondering if I'm ever going to figure it out. Luckily, when I do get the answer, it usually is a case of five different things all falling into place at once, so that's pretty badass and easily the best part of writing for me. :)

Sevvy
02-13-2011, 01:26 AM
Typos that still spell an actual word. So, "heads" instead of "head", "hole" instead of "whole". I write Sci-fi/fantasy, so when I put in "heads" instead of "head", people assume it's not a typo at all, and suddenly I'm writing about people with two heads.

Anne Lyle
02-13-2011, 02:44 AM
People who spout rules like "show not tell" or "never use passive voice" without any idea what they're actually talking about, or worse still getting it plain wrong.

FFS learn the craft properly before trying to teach others!!!

Rowan
02-14-2011, 02:41 AM
[...snip] what drives me nuts is that friend who knows all the "rules" and insists you follow them. Like:
...
And so on,
Who said? really honestly for every rule there is an exception and a friend should help you become the exception not hound you about the rules.
Don't get me wrong constructive info is great, put-downs are annoying.


This. People who blabber on about rules and quote "how-to" books. I prefer to think of most as guidelines.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2011, 02:45 AM
*cough*

People who rail against rules and whose rebellion is aimless.

Learn the rules before you break them. They're there for a reason.

/soapbox.

Oh, and...ARMITAGE!

Kenra Daniels
02-14-2011, 05:05 AM
Only two of mine are specific to writing. The other is something I notice more with writers, but it pops up everywhere.

People who set themselves up as experts in all things writing, without every having completed a single writing project, then go about giving others shitty advice.

People who state their opinion as fact, and pretend theirs is the only opinion that counts.

Working really hard on a scene, finishing it, then coming back later to find it riddled with amateurish mistakes. At least now I know enough to spot and correct those mistakes :-)

scarletpeaches
02-14-2011, 05:09 AM
People who set themselves up as experts in all things writing, without every having completed a single writing project, then go about giving others shitty advice.At the risk of sounding like a white chick saying "Word," I'm saying..."Word."

It's especially 'funny' (i.e. astounding) to witness such folk tell published authors how they should have handled their own stories. Mmmkay...if you're a writer, dear, go write. Then criticise the work of someone who, unlike you, bothered finishing anything so it could be published.
Working really hard on a scene, finishing it, then coming back later to find it riddled with amateurish mistakes. At least now I know enough to spot and correct those mistakes :-)It's definitely a good thing when you spot those mistakes. It shows you've improved since you wrote it. Now you can put it all right.

sheadakota
02-14-2011, 05:24 AM
adverbs

fireluxlou
02-14-2011, 05:51 AM
People who keep saying what I should write about or telling me read things (this is most common).

I've got so many books from people everything from Hemmingway to Meyer from people who say to me "If you're going to write a novel, you should read this first". Yea.....I know you think you're being helpful but stop giving me books to read, my book list is already numbered to 100. I feel bad if I don't take the book though.

Rowan
02-14-2011, 05:52 PM
...snip
People who set themselves up as experts in all things writing, without every having completed a single writing project, then go about giving others shitty advice.

People who state their opinion as fact, and pretend theirs is the only opinion that counts.
..snip


This is precisely what I meant (along with the quoting of how-to books.) Not sure I made as much sense, but I have a concussion. :(

CheyElizabeth
02-14-2011, 06:22 PM
I don't have a problem with people who tell you to follow the writing rules.. writing rules aren't there to piss you off.. they're there because they work.

When it comes to writing - I'm annoyed when I get lazy and screw up little things that I'll ultimately have to go back and fix.

Monkey
02-14-2011, 06:29 PM
When I'm tired, I tend to write in homonyms. I think it's because I "hear" the words in my head before typing them...that's my best guess, anyway.

But it irritates the piss out of me when my betas catch them later (the irritation is at myself, for making me look stupid--not my betas, who are saving me from looking stupid to an agent or editor.)

Yes, I do know the difference between "scene" and "seen." But that's my latest homonym screw up, from my WIP, in a note to myself: "In this seen..." I read it later and nearly screamed. It's a terrible flaw for two reasons. Spell check's got nothing for it, and it's extremely hard to convince anyone that you actually knew the difference. You write "weather" instead of "whether", and you just look dumb, and there's nothing you can say to fix it.

Funnily enough, I almost never get the "there", "their", and "they're" mixed. It's just bizarre words that you don't even think of as being homonyms for other words. Go figure.

I used to dislike the editing process. When I was done with a book, I was DONE. Not anymore. I've come to enjoy editing, especially with my Lyrical Press editor. She's funny and deadly accurate.

Other than that, there's nothing I dislike about the actual work of writing.

I do get annoyed when I mention writing and get the ol', "Oh, I'd do that too, if I had time" line. Or a whole lot of the other things mentioned in the "stupid things non-writers say" thread. But to me, those are all side-issues, and beside the point, and don't count against the joys of actually writing.

CaroGirl
02-14-2011, 07:08 PM
Crit group members to whom I give a harsh review (because I care, really) who then decide to give me a harsh review in return. Just as retribution, not necessarily because the work deserves it.

brainstorm77
02-14-2011, 07:10 PM
Some people who cite rules, and it's obvious they don't know what they are talking about.

dragonangel517
02-14-2011, 07:20 PM
People who crit without actually reading the work. Line by line should be done after you read the whole thing, not as you are reading it, IMHO. How can you say you don't understand something when it is explained in the next couple of sentences? And people who can't spell correcting someone else's spelling mistakes.

CaroGirl
02-14-2011, 07:24 PM
Critters who underline a word you've used and say they've never heard it before, therefore it can't be a real word and I should take it out. How about looking it up in a dictionary before deciding that? Just because you don't know the word doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't know it.

Alpha Echo
02-14-2011, 07:37 PM
When I get to the point where I think that my story is just stupid and silly and then I move on to the next, hopefully better project without finishing.

This. I have so many manuscripts sitting, the characters just waiting for me to write the next chapter of their story...

Rowan
02-14-2011, 08:04 PM
I don't have a problem with people who tell you to follow the writing rules.. writing rules aren't there to piss you off.. they're there because they work.

When it comes to writing - I'm annoyed when I get lazy and screw up little things that I'll ultimately have to go back and fix.

I'm not saying writing rules exist to piss me--or anyone else--off.

I'm saying that while it's important for a writer to learn and know the rules, it's okay to break the rules. My aggravation is with people who follow the rules so rigidly they can't step outside the box. You can pick up many published books and find examples of authors breaking the rules--debut and established authors alike.

For example, people who say flashbacks are bad, 1st person/present tense POV must NOT be done, no prologues...no adverbs...no italics, never do this and never do that. WTF?

There are exceptions to just about every rule, and if you break them well, I say go for it.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2011, 08:35 PM
That's the key. Breaking them well. But until you master them and can explain why they exist, it's best to stick to them. Rulebreaking should only happen from a position of power.

After all, how many times have we seen folk on AW proclaim that they know better than every writer who's gone before, and "Im gonna rite a book in second person future tense with the MC waking up in the first chapter but it's all totes a dream, yo!!!!111!!!one!"

Rowan
02-14-2011, 08:44 PM
Yeah, well...I'm just stating what personally drives me nuts about writing (question as posed by the OP.)

I can't speak for every writer on AW, or the world over, as to qualifications to break said rules. Just sayin'... :)

OneWriter
02-14-2011, 09:14 PM
I only have one rule in writing: write a damn good story and write it damn well.

Phaeal
02-14-2011, 11:10 PM
Writers with a tin ear (or eye) to repetitive sentence structure. Was perusing a very well-published SFF writer the other day, and, seriously, four-fifths of this person's sentences contained one or more participial phrases. As in:

Crying out loudly, the king fell off the balcony. Gobbledegook headed toward the heap of debris, cursing and kicking, while, eyes goggling, Whositz swung from the rafters. The king struggled mightily, flailing his massive thews. Grumbling and gesticulating, miscellaneous wizards commented on the chaos.

This is a very broad paraphrase, but I swear, four-fifths of the sentences...and I can think of two other well-published writers I've perused lately who've been nearly as bad.

And, yeah, I know. Most readers won't notice. So what? This is my gripe post in a gripe thread, and I can gripe about what I want to gripe about, gripingly. ;)

Monkey
02-14-2011, 11:19 PM
People who crit without actually reading the work. Line by line should be done after you read the whole thing, not as you are reading it, IMHO. How can you say you don't understand something when it is explained in the next couple of sentences? And people who can't spell correcting someone else's spelling mistakes.

People do crits in different ways for different reasons...but here, at least, they're working for free, giving the writer the gift of their time and energy (two things few of us EVER have enough of.)

"I don't understand this," "who?" and "where is this, again?" are just another way of saying, "this came out of nowhere," or, more descriptively, "I couldn't visualize this, and was pulled out of your story." It doesn't mean that they didn't read ahead and see what you were referring to. It was a heads-up to you, the author, that readers are likely to have a moment of "Huh?"

You don't want that.
Professionals aren't going to read the whole story before deciding whether or not to publish it. Agents don't always read the whole query before hitting auto-reject--and that's just a couple hundred words. People in bookstores are quite likely to stop at the first "huh?" because they have so many choices and so little time.

As for spelling...are they right about the words they correct? Internet posts aren't held to the same standard as work being put up for critique, and even if their spelling is atrocious, if they catch your screw-ups, they've done you a favor.

Monkey
02-14-2011, 11:27 PM
Critters who underline a word you've used and say they've never heard it before, therefore it can't be a real word and I should take it out. How about looking it up in a dictionary before deciding that? Just because you don't know the word doesn't mean the rest of the world doesn't know it.

IMO, a heads-up that a word is obscure can be a good thing. I used the word caliche in my WIP. I live in a rural area, and around here, everyone has caliche driveways. Everyone knows what caliche is. Apparently, that's not the case elsewhere, so I took out the word and described the crunch of the rocks under the MC's feet. I'm sure the result is much better, and more easily understood, too.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2011, 11:33 PM
I once used the word 'depraved' and someone said, "Are you sure you don't mean deprived? 'Depraved' isn't a word."

Try explaining to her that yes, it is a word and no, the definitions are nowhere near alike. :rolleyes:

Monkey
02-15-2011, 03:07 AM
I once used the word 'depraved' and someone said, "Are you sure you don't mean deprived? 'Depraved' isn't a word."

Try explaining to her that yes, it is a word and no, the definitions are nowhere near alike. :rolleyes:

LOL!

And I guess that just brings it full circle...sometimes, the critter really doesn't know what they're talking about. :)

Karen Junker
02-15-2011, 08:39 AM
Sigh.

I've read hundreds of manuscripts (as an editor for a small romance epub and a second reader for a big NY publisher). What gets to me is the number of people who think that they are the one who can break the 'rule' and do it well.

I'm not saying they're always wrong, but the sheer cussedness and the sheer numbers of them always gets to me.

PS if I never see another character look in a mirror and describe him or herself, I will be very happy.

muravyets
02-15-2011, 09:03 AM
Writers with a tin ear (or eye) to repetitive sentence structure. Was perusing a very well-published SFF writer the other day, and, seriously, four-fifths of this person's sentences contained one or more participial phrases. As in:

Crying out loudly, the king fell off the balcony. Gobbledegook headed toward the heap of debris, cursing and kicking, while, eyes goggling, Whositz swung from the rafters. The king struggled mightily, flailing his massive thews. Grumbling and gesticulating, miscellaneous wizards commented on the chaos.

This is a very broad paraphrase, but I swear, four-fifths of the sentences...and I can think of two other well-published writers I've perused lately who've been nearly as bad.

And, yeah, I know. Most readers won't notice. So what? This is my gripe post in a gripe thread, and I can gripe about what I want to gripe about, gripingly. ;)
But...but... the thews, man, the thews. :D

ETA: I'd say another thing that drives me crazy about writers and writing are those egos -- you all know what I mean -- who not only won't fix all those -ings in rewrite, but who will use "thews" in all seriousness, without the slightest wink, and fight like hell to keep it. :facepalm: I mean, hell, I know I do that shit -- in Draft freakin' ONE. We're none of us Zeus, which means we're not popping perfect little Athenas out of our heads at one go.

A La Vanille
02-15-2011, 09:53 AM
Regarding people, I'm not a fan of people who ask for you to critique their work, and you do so honestly and constructively, and they get very defensive and dismiss you as someone who is jealous. It makes me so happy when someone receives my crticism with grace, even if they don't agree with everything I have to say.

Regarding writing, I don't like it when the writer focuses on no other physical attribute than hair. Yes, that is how they distinguish and describe their characters: hair. Not even anything about personality or height or body type. Just hair. I think my recent critique partner drove me to this pet peeve.

nkeeler
02-15-2011, 05:25 PM
Wow, you guys pretty much said everything that's ever ticked me off. So, of course, I'm going to post something more on the subject.

I think , in general, my pet-peeve has to do with people who have taken all the joy out of writing period. While it is important to have goals and set our sites on getting published, some people get so focused on sales and publishing that they forget why we do this in the first place. I have been guilty of this sometimes. I used to belong to another forum where people would spend all their time spouting off their know-it-all, yet know nothing knowledge that I wondered when they actually had time to write.

We all have one reason or another as to why we write -therapy, sharing stories, pure enjoyment, to pick up chicks etc...etc. Sometimes I think people should remember those reasons and just write.

The same can be said for critiquing. Some writers feel that unless someone's work can measure up to their 'masterpieces' or it falls under their genre it is no good. Sure, nothing beats a well rounded line-by-line kick in the pants critique, but sometimes I'll read someone else's work just to READ. It offers me a chance to experience something different.

dragonangel517
02-15-2011, 10:45 PM
People do crits in different ways for different reasons...but here, at least, they're working for free, giving the writer the gift of their time and energy (two things few of us EVER have enough of.)

"I don't understand this," "who?" and "where is this, again?" are just another way of saying, "this came out of nowhere," or, more descriptively, "I couldn't visualize this, and was pulled out of your story." It doesn't mean that they didn't read ahead and see what you were referring to. It was a heads-up to you, the author, that readers are likely to have a moment of "Huh?"

You don't want that.
Professionals aren't going to read the whole story before deciding whether or not to publish it. Agents don't always read the whole query before hitting auto-reject--and that's just a couple hundred words. People in bookstores are quite likely to stop at the first "huh?" because they have so many choices and so little time.

As for spelling...are they right about the words they correct? Internet posts aren't held to the same standard as work being put up for critique, and even if their spelling is atrocious, if they catch your screw-ups, they've done you a favor.


I agree with what you say. 99% of the people who crit here do a great job, and I am appreciative of it. I have learned so much. But what I am talking about is the people who very obviously are doing line by line in the most literal sense. You can tell this because they bring attention to something that is explained a little later, then when they read the explanation, they don't go "oops, my bad" or "oh, now I get it" they just plow ahead. If they had read the whole post through first, then I would expect them to say something like "Maybe you could move this" or "This isn't clear until later, maybe you could explain it better now to avoid confusion."

I have the utmost respect for critters who truly want to help people write better. Even if I might not agree with what they say, I see where they are coming from, and learn.But it irks me when someone just skims the story, then offers a crit that makes no sense.