Many of us have some bad habit in our writing that we need to fix. It may be that we do too much telling of the story or too much dialogue. My personal bad habit is skimping on the descriptive elements in the story. I think it has something to do with being in too big a hurry to tell the story.
So what do I do?
Well, for starters, I start adding more description. There’s the no-brainer. But how? I’ve never been a fan of description for descriptions sake. It has always felt like padding the story.
No, I’ve got to spend more time using the character’s various senses for one thing: sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. Now the trick here won’t be to force those senses in willy nilly. They have to be something my characters would actually notice. In other words, keep it natural to the character. Just as an example, a small boy might label an overpowering perfume as stinky while a man might find it provocative.
I’ve also got to do a bit more with inner monologue. Again, I’ve got to keep it true to the character. An adult might be thinking about how to pay the mortgage while a child will be considering how well a rock will skip on the water.
It all looks easy enough on paper but like any new habit, it’s going to take a lot of work to make it natural. And by natural, I mean that it will simply become the way I write every time I sit down in front of the computer.
I already know that it will be a LOT of work to create this new habit, but it is one that will be worthwhile. Making the effort now will take me from the ranks of good writers to (hopefully) great ones. That’s a worthy goal, isn’t it?
So what brought me to this realization?
When you hear comments from various people who have no connection to each other (except for my writing, of course) you have to listen. That is the beauty of feedback and the reason we as writers need to pay attention to it.
So, what new writing habits do you need to develop? Let’s inspire each other and move from good to great together.
My YA novel was rejected… sort of. And it really got me to thinking, hence my thoughts above. The publisher left the door open for me to resubmit the novel with the suggested improvements. In fact, I got two very encouraging comments from two people at the publisher telling me to revise the novel and resubmit it. Both thought the novel was ‘almost there’ but needed to be fleshed out a bit more.
With an invitation like that, how can I not? I mean, either I’m a writer or I’m a poser. I’d like to think I’m a writer and I DO want to improve so revision of the novel is in my future.
I will let you know how successful I am in developing the new habit.
One last thing, in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, I will be leaving for Baltimore tomorrow for Balticon. If you are attending, please look me up. I’d love to talk with you.