Author Topic: Are You Guilty of These?  (Read 4986 times)

Offline Plain_Jane

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2009, 06:50:27 PM »
Thanks, Wolfe! This list is great. Luckily, I'm only guilty of a few of these and I'm in the process of fixing them. Thanks again.

Offline Kinatelle

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2009, 07:10:33 PM »
I just read through one of my rough drafts today and found a section were every paragraph has at least four people smiling (one of them smiled twice!). I never realized how many different was I could make somebody smile.

 :) ;) :D ;D 8)


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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2009, 01:20:37 PM »
Thanks all. ;)

Let's finish the list.

6. Characters who always whine or complain.

This goes with sighs and cries. Again, this behavior displeases readers. The exception goes to the side-kick, comic relief, or character you want readers to hate.

7. Characters who always curse.

You get to use one curse word per 100,000 words or novel if you desire a dramatic effect. Liberal cursing weakens the effect. Despite what my military peers believe, you can write a military novel without cursing. And know your chances for publication will increase without cursing and decrease with it. I recommend new novelists avoid cursing until you gain a following. Yes, you can curse in your novel, but know it raises the bar against you. Many agents and editors will shut the door if your debut shows cursing on every page.

8. Characters who always get drunk.

The drunk can appear in a novel if, and only if, used for a purpose. For example, it demonstrates destructive, humorous, or plot-driven behavior. The problems start when writers allow their characters to get drunk without reason and often. We call this fluff when plot, conflict, or style disappears. Delete the scenes that lack these elements.

9. Characters who always win.

Two times you should allow the protagonist to win.

A. At novel's end.
B. When winning causes more problems or you intend to pull the proverbial rug from under the character.

Any other time, winning defuses stress in the reader and conflict in your writing. If the readers stop worrying about your character, they lose interest.

10. Characters who always avoid conflict.

A novel without conflict is no novel at all. Understand a character can start this way, but must change near the middle and show dramatic change toward the end. Characters who avoid conflict in novels are wimps. And you know the rule about wimps in fiction, right?

« Last Edit: December 30, 2009, 01:40:54 PM by Wolfe »

Offline gotpaints

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2009, 01:38:25 PM »
Thanks Wolfe.  Your posts are always educational.

Offline Ashleigh

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2010, 11:18:28 PM »
I notice that I'm guilty of ALOT of those things during my rough draft, I try to weed them out through rewriting though. Maybe I'll do another glance...just to be safe.
But now that you mention it, I was disappointed with Stephanie Meyer. Her characters are constantly grimacing with something.


Offline Kowboy

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2010, 10:35:05 PM »

Those are excellent tips, but may I quibble with # 9 a bit?

Bugs Bunny always wins at the end of every cartoon. Even after getting blasted by Elmer Fudd earlier, he prevails in the end. Bugs remains my favorite cartoon character of all time because he always wins. I don't know if this transfers to writing or not.



Offline utopianwar

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2010, 09:24:47 AM »
Oh yeah I do tend repeat traits to a point where I get annoyed with myself. So I let it go for the first draft. But when I do a 2nd and 3rd draft I watch specific shows with great actors who add to the scene in a more realistic way, and I try to write their reactions down in words. It's good practice to expand the character's gestures. One show I suggest for this, The Shield just because of the wide range of amazing actors who follow their characters a little more then the script. Though any of your favorite shows will work as long as they add something new, and help break that cycle.
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrow; it empties today of it's strength."~ Carrie ten Boom

Offline Joe Mynhardt

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2010, 11:50:41 AM »

Bugs Bunny wins in the end. Your character can also win in the end, but if he wins all throughout the book, there's no
real problems for him/her. And then there will be no suspense. That's why a strong antagonist is so good for a story.
The reader wants to know if the character will be able to stand up to him/outsmart him/or simply beat him up.

Hope it helps,
Founder and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Two time Bram Stoker Award nominated editor publishing only the best in Dark Fiction. Check out Crystal Lake's books and grab two free titles by joining the newsletter.

Offline Jackie Doud

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Re: Are You Guilty of These?
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2010, 10:43:27 PM »
Guilty!  Then I found the 'Edit > Find All' tool.  It helped me find simple redundancies such as: was, of, and then...

It came in handy for changing character's names as well.  'Edit > Find > Replace'.