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Bad habbits


My worst bad habit is always not finishing what I start. I have the tendency to have what I call "creative ADD" in which I get distracted easily by newer, shinier ideas. So I have a slew of unfinished manuscripts.

Lengthy exposition seems to be a common problem in fantasy fiction, even by professionals. I know it's important to establish your world, but I've noticed some writers (Steve Erikson or China Mieville) who don't really explain their worlds very much. They just jump right into it and you just have to go along. I like that style better. I get tired of opening up fantasy books with reams of historical knowledge and magic rules without a hint of a main character in sight.

That would be a bad habit that I'm glad I kicked. Some people like doing that though. Cheers to them.

I also have the bad habit of "internally editing" almost everything I do. That way, it makes it difficult to continue with a story when I am constantly saying "well, that doesn't make much sense." Some people spends years and years writing something before they finally just give up and throw it away because it doesn't fit their perfect vision. Just write and worry about editing when you're finished. Not to say just write a bunch of crap, but don't scrutinize every aspect of your own writing. It makes writing tedious for you in the long haul.

Another bad habit I kicked. Yay!

There's also the phrase "killing your darlings." Some people become so in love with their concepts and characters that they don't recognize when it's not working for the overall story. So they keep trying to shoehorn something that doesn't belong. Don't be afraid to kill or maim a character you love. Don't be afraid to take chunks of manuscript and toss them out. It's fine. No one has ever died from taking something out of a story. Least I don't think...

Bad habit three that I kicked.

Just some food for thought. May not help you much, but these habits really slowed me down over the years.

Oh gosh! I have 'creative ADD' as well, hahaha! I unfortunately haven't learnt how to drop this habit yet, so therefore I have many ideas floating around and no completed manuscripts *sigh*.
That's what rainy days are for! I have a stack of brainstorms and half written manuscripts somewhere in the closet LOL When I get THAT bored.. I randomly pull one out and work on it >^.^< It's a great way to cure boredom between serious projects
As a young writer I was wandering if there are any bad habbits?

I know to show not tell.

But is there any bad habits that i might come across?
I think of so many ways to describe something that I decide to use them all… and the result is a cluttered sentence. Well, the fact is that I am just not used to expressing myself on paper at all, and can’t be expected to write fluently.
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So tl;dr: when describing characters, don't just say what colour their hair and eyes are, don't make value judgements like "beautiful" unless it's a character's judgement, don't use stupid colour descriptors, but also don't avoid describing characters altogether.

Good luck.
I tell all my friends, I grew up with a box of eight crayons, what color does fucshia(as an example) closest resemble?
"His hair is a long flowing burnt umber." Is that like charred?:confused:

The only time I notice eye color is if it stands out. The last date I was on, she had light blue eyes, her son did too.
Here's a bad habit that I'm sure we all have done needlessly:

The use of the word THAT.

Look in my first sentence. It reads better with the removal of THAT: Here's a bad habit I'm sure we all have done needlessly.

I didn't realize this until a journalist who read my novel pointed it out. I spent about four hours with the search/find tool in Word looking for THAT. Ninety-percent of the time, the words was unnecessary.

I challenge you to open up a piece of your writing and to run that search and test this. You'll be shocked by how much you used the word and how often you didn't need it.


Too many words, too many commas (compound sentences) and - ESPECIALLY - too many dashes. I'd often have several clauses in a paragraph set aside with - and emphasized by - these.

See what I did there? ;)


Amen, Map! "That" is used way too many times...

Bad habits:

"Said". I think this isn't so much of a problem with writers as they gain experiance, but say "said" too many times and it sticks out in a most annoying way.

Using the same words over and over. Writer's usually gain a great vocabulary. But eventually, some writers end up settling into their comfortable vocab and don't end up using the rest of it. All you have to do is mention a specific vocabulary word several times and the reader may notice. This happened to me recently. An author mentioned this one word several times throughout in a few chapters and I ended up thinking, "Didn't I just read this somehow?" and "Didn't he just use this word?" If you have to describe something, please at least try to vary its description. My vocabulary has been lacking, so I am working on that.