View Full Version : Dumb Writer Tricks

04-22-2011, 09:24 PM
Have you ever done anything really dumb, writer-wise?

Please share and make the rest of us feel better, lol. :tongue

04-22-2011, 10:35 PM
Dumb, how? In a manuscript?

04-22-2011, 10:39 PM
Yesterday I used the word 'head' four times in about 90 words. That was pretty dumb. ;)

04-22-2011, 11:03 PM
I once saved a manuscript on a flash drive and nothing else. Flash Drive overheated and ate the file.

I've also changed a minor character's name halfway through a book and never realized it.

Jess Haines
04-22-2011, 11:51 PM
I've had a few of these. My favorite to this day remains the mysterious case of the magically appearing/disappearing pants.

04-23-2011, 12:49 AM
I once told a client I could deliver a manuscript in two weeks even though I'd never written anything on that topic before.

My mouth wrote a check that my ass did indeed cash, but it was close, and towards the end I was awake for 34 straight hours. I'm afraid to go back and look at the document again, lest I find "can't sleep, the clowns will eat me" buried in the middle of the footnotes.

04-23-2011, 02:06 AM
I gave the same character three different last names in the course of a manuscript once. Granted, they sorta sounded the same, but that was pretty silly once I'd figured it out. ;)

04-23-2011, 03:17 AM
Yesterday I used the word 'head' four times in about 90 words. That was pretty dumb. ;)

Sounds like SEO writing to me. ;)

04-23-2011, 03:19 AM
My favorite "dumb writer" trick is to say I've attached a file to e-mail and then forget to attach the thing.

i love getting those e-mails from editors that say: "Gee, that's great, but you didn't send the file."


04-23-2011, 05:06 AM
I used to use the word "gently" a lot in some early erotica/pr0n I'd written. I never knew how bad it was until the day somebody editing a manuscript took out a highlighter and marked it each time it appeared.

04-23-2011, 05:10 AM
No, I've never done anything silly, ever.

*walks away, whistling suspiciously*

.303 Bookworm
04-23-2011, 08:08 AM
When I first started writing on the computer, I was a kid and had some vague idea that I needed to conserve disk space. I also had a habit of starting stories, getting stuck and then abandoning them. So, of course, whenever I started a new story, I'd overwrite an older one. *headdesk*

I know they were probably pretty terrible, but I wish I still had them.

04-23-2011, 10:02 AM
I accidentally deleted my entire writing file...with no backup. I'm pretty sure I accidentally got my queries switched between publications, once. I'm sure I've done more than that involving skipping proofreading, editing and tracking contacts.

Jason Harrington
04-23-2011, 10:25 AM
Pretty much stopped reading for 2 months, recently. Was in a write-only rut, churning out pieces for Cracked.com. There are worse ruts to be in, it's true, but for a writer, that is a fatal rut. No New York Times, no anything. The Japanese tsunami whooshed right over my head. I believe the three most important things that a writer must do, in order to succeed, is to 1. Write. 2. Read. 3. Submit. Not necessarily in that order, I suppose, but I'm going to work on never letting number 2 slip away from me again.

Nick Blaze
04-23-2011, 10:36 AM
Hm... I accidentally killed a character off and then talked about her as though she was alive and well. And in fact, she walked right onto a scene about four chapters later.

I also remembered once that I, for fun, decided to find & replace a word, phrase, or letter with another word, phrase or letter. Read scene, enter hilarity. I had changed the letters "ur" to "feed". To be honest, it was rather funny. But somehow, only one word stayed altered even though I did not save the file. Must've auto-saved at some point and I used that file. "Occurred" turned into "occfeedred" which I altered into a name later on (Ocfeedrid).

04-23-2011, 10:57 AM
I have occassionaly, usually when really tired or distracted, written things I was hearing on TV or the radio, or sometimes conversations I was having while writing.

04-26-2011, 12:39 AM
When I wrote my first book, I read a lot of articles offering advice--which I completely disregarded and wrote the way I wanted too. Once I was finished, I realized a lot of the advice would have made my job a hell of a lot easier had I paid attemtion to it.

04-26-2011, 12:44 AM
I once sent a query with a different spelling of the MC's name than appeared in the synopsis and writing sample. I believe that one got me a speedy-quick rejection.

Mr. Anonymous
04-26-2011, 03:00 PM
how much time do you have?

04-27-2011, 06:38 PM
Once I sent a query to a small press for a manuscript that wasn't even halfway written -- and when they said, "Send us the whole thing!", I said, "Okay, I'll have it to you in two weeks."

I did it, and they took it. But it was really dumb. And I don't recommend it.

04-27-2011, 07:42 PM
Yesterday I sent off an email query ... and used a different agent's name in the salutation.

I verify everything before hitting "send", but I'm muddle-headed from a bad head cold. I am SO embarrassed and ticked off at myself.

04-27-2011, 08:04 PM
I gave the same character three different last names in the course of a manuscript once. Granted, they sorta sounded the same, but that was pretty silly once I'd figured it out. ;)

I've done that before.

I also gave one character three different eye colors--in the course of a six-page chapter!

I think the dumbest thing I've done, from a writing standpoint, was neglecting to make a note of the name of the brother of one of the MCs in my Reality Shift series. I mention him briefly in book 4, then needed his name again for book 8 and had to spend a few hours looking for it because I couldn't remember which book he'd been mentioned in first. Lesson learned: Make notes of EVERYTHING when you're writing a series!

04-28-2011, 10:26 AM
I've done some character name changing myself...usually for my secondary characters. But then I usually go back to the first name and say "What the hell was I thinking? She is not a Cathy!"


A.R. Starr
04-28-2011, 02:13 PM
Two of my seconary characters kept changing names throughout my novel. My beta reader hit me.

I also forgot to write half the words in the very first sentance and didn't notice, even after eight re-reads.