Friday, April 17, 2015

Too Much of a Good Thing

by Kelly Baugh

Rant Begins:

Guess what’s happening outside my window right now? It’s snowing. Can I describe to you the bone-chilling weariness I feel at the sight of the white, slushy sludge? The despair I feel knowing I have packed up all our winter coats, hats and mittens, thinking I was surely safe to do so? The revulsion I feel knowing the wet dog smell that will fill our home the next few days? No I cannot. So I won’t.

And yes I know I should be a good Coloradoan and repeat the party line, “Well, we could use the moisture.” (Aside: can anyone imagine an instance where we wouldn’t say that? Would snowpack have to be upwards of 300% before some brave soul said, “NO! I am sick of the moisture! We do not need any more moisture!!!”).

Rant Ends:

In light of this meteorological horror story of too much winter (and the fact that my blog was due), I decided to turn my focus to too much of a good things in writing. We’ve all heard the line-up of the usual offenders:

  • Excessive adverbs 
  • Distracting dialogue tags 
  • Pointless backstory 
  • Telling not showing 
My own particular weakness is distracting dialogue tags. With every edit of my manuscripts, I find myself cutting out more and more until someone in my critique group says, “Wait, I don’t understand who’s talking.” That when I think, “Success! I’m finally close.”

All of us are heavy handed in certain elements of writing. Which one is your particular weakness? How do you try to address it? And how do you handle a winter that won't stop?

4 comments:

Patricia Stoltey said...

My writing excess involves habit words...like when I get into the habit of having all of my characters shrug at least once on every page.

As for winter, well, I'm housebound anyway with my foot in a cast and haven't had much of a chance to enjoy the wonderful spring weather except at an open window. I'm using my down time to write more and take more naps.

Kelly Baugh said...

Can I come hang out with you?

Patricia Stoltey said...

You bet, Kelly. We'll write our little hearts out for a few hours then each grab a couch and rest up for the next round of writing. There will be coffee, tea, and dark chocolate...

Kelly Baugh said...

Just so you know, I might show up with a suitcase ;-)

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