Everyone has a list of words and phrases you should “never use.” Many of these are not specific taboos. They are just loose writing that could be tightened if you recognize the symptoms and want to try harder.
Creativity walks a tightrope. If you are not creative enough, your readers will be bored. If you are too creative, your readers will be mystified.
“Oh!” says the Creative Soul. “That’s what I want. I want my reader to be mystified.”
Not this way, you don’t. I mean mystified as in “mixed up, baffled, confounded, deceived and perplexed.” None of these are particularly happy emotions, especially “deceived.”
Yes, there is a challenge in reading a piece of work that sets a puzzle you must solve in order to understand it. For many experienced readers, the joy of solving the puzzle is a great part of the pleasure of reading. Witness the popularity of Joyce’s “Ulysses.”
Those who are pantsers (who write by the seat of the pants, rather than outlining a story) can run into a problem that outliners don’t encounter as much: the story stalling.
It’s happened to every pantser at least once, where they’re in a groove, the story is moving along nicely, and then bam, nothing seems to work. Everything they want to write seems flat or the story just doesn’t move in a compelling way anymore. So, if you’re a pantser and your story has stalled, here a couple of things to try to get your writing mojo flowing again. Continue reading “Tips to Help Pantsers Get Moving Again When the Story Stops”
Because I am not an editor, while I’m reading a novel that interests me, the occasional typo or misplaced modifier is likely to fly right past me. In spite of that, I’m a writing tutor for Pearson/Smarthinking. It’s okay. I can pay attention when I have to.
I tutor over 100 students per month on higher-level orders such as thesis statements, content development, and organization. I also coach them on lower-level issues such as noun-verb agreement, sentence structure, and misplaced modifiers.
Over time, I’ve come to see the same lower-level mistakes again and again. Some are so sneaky that we can read a passage, know something isn’t quite right, but have no idea what it is.