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#IWSG Post

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

Let me start by saying this is my first post for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. I was supposed to do one last month and forgot, completely. I know this group has been running for a few years because I actually joined initially around 2013 but back then I was even more disorganised about blogging than I am today, so I failed to complete the posts. Here I am renewed and ready to get involved. 🙂 So here are my pet peeves:

Pet peeves when reading:

  1. Purple prose – I can’t stand it. I can be completely turned off by a book if I feel like the writer is trying to show off their writerly genius in the form of long descriptions of an intellectual nature. I don’t want to be aware of the writer, I just want to escape in the story. There are loads of highly acclaimed writers that I just can’t read because of my inability to stomach this. I don’t want to have to look up three words in every sentence. I just want to be entertained. (I also think I lack the intelligence to deal with high-brow, literary fiction.)
  2. Confusing pronoun use. Sorry Hilary Mantel, this one is for you. I know Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies won the Booker prize but I had to put Wolf Hall down because it just wasn’t obvious to me who was doing half the stuff. (This may be related to point number one in that I may just be far less intelligent and therefore unable to handle such things.)
  3. Bad spelling and huge grammar errors, of course. This will also lead me to putting down a book. I’m not a grammar nazi and I can let the odd typo go but lots of that stuff is a no-go.

Pet peeves when editing:

I’m not really sure what to write for this one. I guess the above would fit if I were doing those in my drafts but remember, I’m not intelligent enough to do the first two and the third I would fix during the edit. I don’t really have pet peeves when editing because I always know to remind myself that I’m editing a terrible, terrible previous draft. I try to forgive myself for my terribleness.

Pet peeves when writing:

  1. When my brain tells me over and over and over again that what I am writing is shit and worthless and a waste of time. I hate that.
  2. When I plot a certain way and I end up writing something completely different. Why do I do that? Are my fingers in cahoots with the part of my brain that told me the outline was also crap?
  3. When I lose my work because of technology.
  4. When I read my work again and then think it is awful, and then change my mind and think it is quite good and then change it back again and think it’s awful once again.
  5. When I send my work to competitions or feedback forums thinking it is quite good and then realise that I was right before, when I thought it was shit.

So, those are my pet peeves!

Right now, I’m just trying to persuade myself that my writing is good enough to keep sending to competitions and magazines in the hope that one day I will be right.

If you want to get involved in the Insecure Writers’ Support Group visit this link: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Thanks for reading! 😀

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20 thoughts on “#IWSG Post

  1. Could you give more detail on Mantel’s pronoun use? I’ve not read any of her work so I’m not familiar with her style.

    Insecurity is a big deal with my writing, so I’m confident that your writing peeves are more in your head than real.

    1. I found a blog post written by someone who explains it far more eloquently that I can. I think it’s the style she has chosen to use and I gather it’s an experimental literary style but I hate having to re-read bits of a book to try to figure out who is doing what.. I just need it to be a bit more straightforward for my simple little mind. 🙂

      https://retiredmensbookclub.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/he-liked-her-wolf-hall-but-he-cannot-himself-repress-his-annoyance-at-her-writing-style/

  2. Welcome to the group!

    I’ve read books where it’s hard to tell who’s doing what, and it can be quite difficult to get through.

    When I’m writing, I keep reminding myself that the first draft is never going to be all that good but can be fixed with editing. If I didn’t do that, I might never be able to finish a first draft at all.

    1. I seriously don’t have the patience to stick with it when a book is like that. Life is too short!

  3. Welcome aboard! Your first IWSG post is a good un. 🙂

    But you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Your preference in reading materials has nothing to do with intelligence… you like what you like and don’t like what ya don’t like. No excuses necessary.

    I’m not familiar with the books you mentioned, but the overuse of pronouns would drive me nuts, too. Reading a book should be easy and enjoyable, and the writing should flow naturally. No reader should have to go back a few pages to try to figure out what the heck is going on or which character is speaking.

    1. I think the readers of Mantel’s books either love them or fall into my group of hating the style. She won two Man Booker prizes with the first two in the trilogy though and the third one hasn’t been released yet. No accounting for taste though, of course. 😀

  4. Well done on getting your first post in. I’m quite new too, only three months in. (It’s quite difficult to remember to do it on the first Wednesday of the month, imo.)

    What you write accords very much with me. All your insecurities are my insecurities, I’m afraid, except that I don’t lose work through technology, because I work in IT, and so IT and I are friends.

    1. I did forget last month but just about managed to remember for this time. Hopefully now I’ll be able to keep myself right. 🙂

      You know, normally technology is my friend too but a particular program I was using decided to redraft my work, harshly, by erasing it. Lol.

  5. You’ve hit many of my pet peeves for writing. I like to think that when my writing turns out different to what I had originally planned, that my characters have taken over. Sometimes they end up in situations/places you never even thought of.

    Welcome to the group Lisa!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. My characters take over a lot! Lol. Hopefully they know a better plot than me.

  6. That pronoun thing is something my editor had to beat out of me. I don’t think I was that bad about it, but I can see how it can get confusing if you aren’t careful.

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