Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kill Those Bugaboos


Janet here. I have a list of bugaboos that I believe clutter the page or distract the reader. Overdone they’re as annoying as chatty moviegoers.
I must admit I’ve done them all. Nothing is more annoying than annoying oneself. LOL

I look for these things and kill them, either by revising or by hitting the delete key. Here’s my list.



  • Redundancy. Saying the same thing over and over. I'm guilty of this. Perhaps because I'm an expert at rehashing stuff that bothers me, I give that trait to my characters.



  • Redundancy. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
• Overusing “there was” and “it was” construction. Now I know "there is" a place for "there was." LOL I like using it for emphasis or sometimes that's the best way to say what I want to say. But when overdone, I find this construction annoying.

"There was an ominous stillness pervading the room." is easily changed to "An ominous stillness pervaded the room."

• Undefined “it” when the meaning isn't clear.

He edged into the dark woods. It was scary.

Ignore that this sentence is telling. What was scary? The woods? The dark? The night sounds? Replace generic “it” with rich details that illicit emotion and clarify events.

• Starting sentences with “and” and “but” for no reason. I do this all the time. Easy fix. Kill em.

• Characters traipsing onstage without description. One sentence or even a phrase describing them through the point of view character’s eyes may be all I need to give them life.

• Characters describing themselves. These people are too stupid to live. Shape them up. If that fails, kill them.

• Scenes beginning like dated journals. Start with a hook and let the story ground readers in place and time.

• Characters that don’t react to events and dialogue. Unless the lack of response is a plot device, story people should react. True, real people often don't, but I find that annoying too.

• Relying on "pet" body parts or senses instead of writing fresh reactions. The Find feature will reveal overuse of guts, eyes or smiles. I’m tempted to blame this tendency of mine on my characters, but Ruthy won’t let me get away with such nonsense.

• Sentences starting with “after” and “when”. Unless you need to show a lapse of time, stay in the moment.

• “Walking the dog” A term I've heard used for mundane actions or details that slow the pace and don’t forward the plot. The hero gets up, dresses, eats his breakfast and drives to work. If I'm falling asleep at the computer, I'm guilty of this.

• Characters sitting and thinking. Rodin's The Thinker is art but I wouldn't want this guy in my book. Characters should act. Working toward their goals all the time. Use what they’re doing--their actions--and where they’re doing it--the setting--to elicit emotion in the reader.

• Overuse of the same sentence structure. Instead of starting sentences with a name or pronoun, begin with a phrase that adds description.

Tightening her grip on the milk pail, Callie trudged toward the small barn at the back of the property.

I tend to overdo "ing" construction. To reword:

With a tight grip on the milk pail, Callie trudged toward the small barn at the back of the property.

The phrase should attach to the subject of the sentence. Don't make the mistake I sometimes do and attach the phrase to an inappropriate noun.

Ex. Riding in the car, the view was breathtaking.
This sounds like the view is riding inside the car.

Riding in the car, she marveled at the breathtaking view.

Or without "ing" construction--The view outside the car windows left her breathless. My examples are pathetic but hopefully make the point.

• Using unnecessary words like “just” and “that” or qualifiers like “very, a bit, rather”. Avoid using “so” as a qualifier. Ex. The design is so pretty. The design is fabulous.

• Misused words. Using “anxious” for “eager” is one that bugs me.

If all these things bother me, why do I find oodles of them in my manuscripts?

• Overusing descriptions and reactions is far easier than writing fresh.

• Since we see and hear these bugaboos in everyday life, we use them unconsciously.

• Using them is an ingrained habit. Even when you try to kill them, habits die hard.

• Hopefully I find them in the draft stage not in the published book. The draft stage is spewing words on the page. Kill bugaboos during revisions.

Not everyone is bugged by the things on my list. None of these things will destroy fabulous characters and a wonderful story. Still, I've lost a star in reviews now and again because a reader tired of the overuse of a physical reaction or redundancy that escaped me.

What makes you cringe like a fingernail scraping across a chalkboard?

Leave a comment for a chance to win Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress or a copy of Wanted: A Family. Winners choice.

I brought fruit and stuffed pancakes with maple syrup. Is the coffee on??

160 comments :

  1. Oh, mea culpa!

    Janet, I'm printing this one out and highlighting almost everything! I think you hit on every construction I use, but don't know how to fix. Thanks for the ammunition!

    It's a cool, clear evening here in the Black Hills. Anyone want to sit on the deck and stargaze while we sip some hot chocolate?

    jandrex(at)juno(dot)com

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  2. 'Bugaboos' neat term! :)

    Janet, like Jan said this is one post to print out and reread before editing.

    Thanks!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

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  3. Yep, the coffee's on. Set for 3 a.m.

    Oh, dear, I'm sure I commit all those criminal word things. I look for them, but they still slip through.

    Something that bugs me is when people, including national broadcasters, use "that" instead of "who" when referring to persons.

    Have a cousin who is in the hospital in critical condition. Her daughter (age 39) had a stroke and died. They called and asked Ken to do the funeral. So (yeah, there's that weasel word!) the next couple of days will be l-o-o-ong.

    Helen

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  4. WOW! What a great post! I remembered reading Stein's book on writing and felt like I'd hit a home run... In the way that I had done everything he said NOT to do! :D Loved this list- and especially LOVED the fixes. It was like a mini writing class. :D
    Helen, I'm so sorry. Prayers on the way!

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  5. Hi Janet:

    If the story is great, much can be forgiven. I think a bugaboo is anything that draws attention away from the story and towards the writing itself.

    You have given many good examples. I have a few to suggest.

    A real bugaboo on the Kindle is not having double or triple spaces between scenes. Many times now I’ve been drawn out of a story because the next paragraph did not make sense and had to be reread and when it still did not make sense, I had to read forward. Then it dawned on me that a new scene was underway. This is not the author’s fault. It has to do with the coding of the copy but it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

    Another bugaboo is having one scene end with dialogue and the next scene begin with dialogue – especially when it is not the same people talking. This is particularly annoying when the total conversation makes sense but not the sense the story requires.

    BTW: I’m one who loves headstones before scenes. Nothing frames a story faster. You don’t always have to tease a reader by dribbling facts along the way like bread crumbs. Unless it is necessary to the plot to leave the reader disoriented, orient the reader quickly.

    I like a headstone like this at the start of a chapter:

    Summer, 1878
    Death Valley


    I don’t want to spend the whole first chapter trying to figure out where and when the story is taking place. This gets in the way of enjoying the story. Frame the story or scene quickly and then get on with the action. (At least that's how I like it.)

    Storytellers have told stories for centuries. Telling has it’s place. Sometimes I’d rather a writer tell me than spend valuable time showing me.

    Vince

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

    P.S. If you are an Early Bird, don't miss Missy on the radio at 9 am to 9:30 am EST.

    http://wimoradio.com/wordpress/

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  6. So many helpful reminders here, Janet. I love working on these things during my edits and watching my story get better before my eyes.

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  7. Janet - wawzah!

    You summed 'em up well. Thanks. Definitely a printer-offer!

    Thx too for the reminder to use the search key. What a PAWmazing resource!

    Would love the work book. Have heard a lot about it and I'd love to win a copy. Thanks for offering it, though I'd love to win yours TOO! Either way! :). May at maythek9spy dot com

    Scootch over Jan. I brought the mini-marshmallows and some of Helen's coffee! Love 'em mixed together.

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  8. Oh, Janet, you have outdone yourself here. This is printer/keeper/refer-to-often type stuff.

    I'm so stinkin' guilty. And why don't I see it myself? Grrr.......

    I catch some, but not all. I have found that printing out my final version and the AA's (final edit approval copies) helps me visually find repetitive phrasing/words. I missed a couple when I tried to do AA's on the computer screen, but learned my lesson. The reader deserves the small cost of printing that up and poring over it.

    I hate making stupid mistakes, but you nailed me here on every point. Well done! And stuffed pancakes...

    God bless you, my friend.

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  9. Oh, Helen. What a hard twist of fate for that family, to be double whammied like that. How nice of Ken to do the funeral service, what a blessing that will be, but how hard will it be on that mother, to get well and find her child gone too soon.

    Oh, I'm adding them to my prayers right now. That's just heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  10. Earlier this year I read a book with kept repeating itself. Cant remember the book but each change of POV rehashed what had just been said or thought. It did get frustrating as it happened quite often.

    Vince I know what you mean about the Kindle. I have read some pdfs and a couple other books where there is no break between POV's and it can take a bit to get use to.
    I have reread also to work out what was happening. I think errors seem to jump out more on the kindle also.

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  11. ps. I forgot to say dont enter me I have this book on my TBR list

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  12. very interesting pos! thanska lot for sharing!!!!

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  13. Hi Jan, I'm bummed I missed the opportunity to share an evening with you! One of my favorite rings is from the Black Hills, a gift from my parents' trip. Mount Rushmore is high on my list of places to visit. Maybe next year.

    The great thing about bugaboos is they're easy fixes. Far easier than the big stuff like characterization, plot development, conflict, etc. need to be dealt with in the beginning.

    Glad the post helped! Love that your refered to it as ammunition to shoot your bugaboos. :-)

    Janet

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  14. Hi Eva, the only problem with lists like this is finding them.
    :-) I have a computer file for revisions but it's so full I don't know where to start looking. :-) Luckily I've gotten sensitized enough with some that I can't type them, even in the rough draft.

    Btw, so in front of full is fine here. LOL

    Janet

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  15. Helen, thanks for the coffee.

    So is fine here. So shows the impact one thing had on another. I have no idea what that's called. Where's Myra when I need her?

    I'm sorry about your cousin and her daughter. What a heartache for your family. My prayers go out to all of you.

    Hugs,
    Janet

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  16. Helen, I forgot to say that I'd noticed my auto-correct switches who to that. Wonder if this is now acceptable?

    Janet

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  17. Janet,

    I have to agree with everyone this morning, this is a definite print out and keep close during revisions.

    Unfortunately, I could check each one as showing up in my MS.

    You mentioned failing to describe characters. I have a problem with books where there's too much description. Where we get a button by button detail of every dress the heroine owns. Unless it's important to the story (i.e. she's a dressmaker) I start to wonder if this it's a fashion show, or romance.

    Thanks for the tips!

    --Kirsten

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  18. I'm a 'but-er' and and 'ing-er'. Loved you ing examples because it shows what a simple fix it is. Oh -- and my middle name is Redundant. In fact I think I do everything on your list except for:

    "• Characters describing themselves. These people are too stupid to live. Shape them up. If that fails, kill them. "

    That had me howling so hard my dog joined in and I snorted oatmeal up my nose! (sorry if that was too graphic).

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  19. Awesome article! :)

    Head hopping is my biggest annoyance. I just can't read it with out getting irritated. And yes, I still do it when I write.

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  20. Pancakes and syrup -- mmmm, I can tell fall is in the air, LOL!

    Great points, every last one of them, Janet. I think you're right about contemporary conversation creeping into our fictional worlds. Heaven only knows when popular acronyms will permeate the printed word beyond the occasional line of dialogue.

    You've outlined most of my downfall habits. And I have to add one -- inappropriate punctuation. There's a difference between a comma and a semi-colon; correct run-on sentences by inserting periods; (our favorite) no exclamation marks.

    My personal bugaboo challenge? Overuse of the em dash.

    Thanks for the list, Janet! I'm printing it off and keeping it close.

    Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are at full flavor right now. I brought a big bowl of each to go with the delicious pancakes!

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  21. Virginia, thank you! Calling my post a mini-writing class is exactly what we try to do here in Seekerville. Along with supporting each other, having a laugh or two, sharing a need. Offering more to chew on than cyber food. LOL
    Have you tried the pancakes?

    Janet

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  22. Oh my, Helen. 39 is so young. What a heartache for the whole family.

    My prayers are with you.

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  23. Guilty as charged of the bugaboos in my first draft. Excellent at killing the bugaboos in my revisions. Thanks for a timely reminder about how to improve my writing :-)

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  24. Hi Vince, I don't have a Kindle--hoping to get one for my birthday--so didn't know about this flaw. No visible scene break will bug me bigtime. I hate feeling confused when I read a book. Send Amazon an e-mail. :-)

    I always use headstones in the opening of my books. Since I never change settings during the story, I don't need them for chapters. I agree the author should ground the reader. I've never heard the term headstones before. Love it! Did you make that up?

    Thanks for the shout out for Missy's radio interview!

    Janet

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  25. Hi Keli, I like the revision process too. For me, it's easier than getting the story down. Wonder if I'm more left brained than right? That's a scary thought for a writer. LOL

    Janet

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  26. KC, I love the Find key. I often use it to check details in my wip. I type in a keyword that will take me to the exact location I need. A wonderful tool!

    Hi to May!

    Janet

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  27. Good morning, Ruthy! We all fight this kind of stuff. But Vince is right, a great story is what matters most.

    Got my AAs for An Inconvenient Match yesterday, mere minutes before losing my email. Anyone a Frontier customer? My email is still down this morning. Grr.

    Janet

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  28. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraAugust 17, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Janet thanks for sharing such great tips with us. I hate when it seems that the characters are doing the same thing over and over again.

    Helen I will be praying for you and your family. I am sorry to hear of your loss.

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  29. Hi Jenny! Excellent point. I doubt an author would deliberately rehash everything. She's probably making sure the reader gets it but the reader is smarter than that.

    With the issues with the ereaders, do you prefer hard copy or eBooks?

    Janet

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  30. Hi Writing Jobs. Thanks for stopping by!

    Janet

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  31. Janet I cant even remember which book it was but it seemed each pov said thought the same thought.

    With the kindle it seems to be more the pdfs and net galley books that cause an issue. Its not all books for me but I have found once you get use to it you get use to it.
    I actually go from one to another.
    I love it for when I am going away from home and when reading with it love sitting in the sun with it as its easy to hold. Also you dont have the issue some books have where the writing goes into the spine almost and you really have to open the book to read one page. this happens sometimes with LI books. with the kindle I dont have this issue.
    So to answer your question I do love my kindle and I am now buying a few more books for it.

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  32. Good morning, Kirsten! You make an excellent point. Description can be overdone. I've heard readers skip long passages of description. Not this reader. I can't skip a word if the book is good though I can toss a book aside.

    The way to make description count is to describe things through the POV character's eyes. Then the reader will feel what the character is feeling. A wounded hero will describe a sunny morning differently than an optimistic guy would.

    Janet

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  33. love this post. my biggest bugaboo is the being repetitive part. i do it in real life as well and annoy the bleep out of my dear hubby. he keeps telling me he heard it the first three thousand times *heh*

    this is definitely a reference material post. thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

    either book would be wonderful if i'd actually be lucky enough to pop up in the winner's box.

    nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

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  34. Ouch, Kav! Oatmeal and nasal passages don't mix. LOL

    My characters used to describe themselves. My first contest judge called it a POV error. I had no idea what POV meant. :-) But I found out and never made that mistake again.

    Which reminds me--

    No matter how much we struggle with bugaboos, let's not forget to celebrate how far we've come!

    Janet

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  35. Morning Sheri! Head hopping never bothered me until I started writing and discovered craft. Now head hopping drives me nuts. Thanks for adding to the list!

    Janet

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  36. Super post! Thank you!
    Yup, I do them all. hehe. A lot. Your list will help me hunt them down now. =]

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  37. Oh, Janet, you nailed me. These are ALL things I try to watch out for, because I do them a lot. And the thing is, my editor won't usually mention these sorts of things. I have to find them and kill them myself. She is fabulous at catching big story things, things that don't work or could work better for characterization and plot. But she doesn't tell me I have too many sentences in a row that start with "She." Although she does get tired of my characters' stomachs churning and their hearts pounding. LOL

    This is a great, practical list, Janet! I need to print this out. Thanks!!!

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  38. Audra, thanks for the bowls of beautiful berries! And for adding improper punctuation and overuse of the exclamation point and the em dash to the list of bugaboos. I love em dash and ellipsis. Way too much. In the early days I used the exclamation point constantly. Like I do in emails now. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

    Janet

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  39. Ouch! Realize I have some of my own bugaboos within my manuscript....guess it's time for more editing!

    Blessings,
    Jodie Wolfe

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  40. Thanks for the heads up Vince. Missy's on now and she sounds great.

    Wow Janet, lots of good info I know I'll be referring back to. Thanks!

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  41. Good morning, Christine. Revision time is when we get out that can of bugaboo spray and kill those tenacious pests.

    Sounds like you're working hard.

    Janet

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  42. Morning Janet, What a great list and don't you just (couldn't resist) love finding them in your own work.
    Seems like every chapter I have a pet word in my head that ends up there a gazillion times. Ruthy loves to find those and whap me on the head with them. LOL

    The pancakes are yummy. I picked ten pounds of blueberries Monday morning so have plenty to share.

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  43. Hi Laura, I love that you call yourself Loves 2 Read Romance. I do too. Especially well-written romance. Our aim is to search and destroy redundancy.

    Janet

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  44. Jenny, like you, I've had trouble reading words caught in the spine. No doubt an author pushing her word count. :-)

    I love the idea of being able to enlarge the font on the Kindle.

    The growing popularity of the Kindle and Nook means more people can read out of print books. Yay!

    Janet

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  45. Deb H, We may be twins separated at birth. My d/h doesn't rehash everything like I do. No wonder we do this in our stories. Is this a female thing or just us?

    Nor does my d/h want all the details. Even when he doesn't say a word, I can read "spit it out" in those baby blue eyes.

    Janet

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  46. Hello Patty! The best part of doing one of these craft posts is realizing I'm not alone in my struggles. Thanks!

    Janet

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  47. I've noticed the same thing on my Kindle. The current title I'm reading from Netgalley is worse than most - could it be a problem on the publisher's end? Has anyone noticed the problem with some publishers more than others?

    All in all, I much prefer a print book to my Kindle. It's like the difference between an oven and a microwave. I'd rather cook in my oven, but sometimes it's easier and makes more sense to use the microwave.

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  48. Good morning, Melanie. I'm glad you said that your editor doesn't fuss about these small things. I figured as much because I see them in wonderful stories. Proof that story is what matters most.

    I'm curious. Does anyone have an editor or agent that nails this kind of stuff? NO NAMES please!

    Janet

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  49. Hi Jodie! I love your Digging for Pearls handle. Aren't we all?

    Have fun destroying your bugaboos!

    Janet

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  50. Jamie! Can you believe I forgot Missy's radio spot? I went out but had missed her. Sigh. Hopefully she'll have a link I can listen to later.

    Janet

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  51. I seem to find a pet expression or reference or word sequence in every book. When my edits come, they just simply circle the offensive words/phrases. That means they're seeing it too often.

    So I change 'em. And because that seems to be a blind spot for me, I'm so grateful for the help. And then I wonder "WHY DIDN'T I SEE THAT????"

    Duh.

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  52. Hi Sandra! Like you, I have pet words and pet reactions. Guess we could call them our pet peeves. LOL Funny how we see this stuff in everyones' writing but our own!

    That's a lot of blueberries! I'm guessing some are going into the freezer. They'll be wonderful this winter when prices go up.

    Janet

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  53. Rehashing is NOT a female thing!! lol I know a male who reallllly does it too often!!! I have your book, Janet ..so don't enter me. I plan to read it soon! Enjoyed this post!

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  54. Jan! How clever to compare a book and eBook to an oven and microwave! I'm with you. I far prefer to bake potatoes but in a time crunch, the microwave is a blessing.

    Janet

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  55. Ruthy, bless editors for seeing this stuff! Funny how the pet words change, isn't it? Kill one and another pops up to take its place. Sigh.

    Janet

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  56. Jackie, I won't ask who the male is since this is not a gossip column. You heard it here, folks. Redundancy is not merely a a female bugaboo. :-)

    Janet

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  57. Great post, Janet!

    Redundancy - hmm, maybe we females have to repeat ourselves when the males of the household DON'T LISTEN!!

    I have a 15-year old and a 51-year old who both like to tune me out!

    Thanks for the tips! I also use the -ing sentence too often. As well as the 'just, very, that, a bit', etc. I think it's because I do this in my natural speech.

    Hope I get to your stage and learn to stop myself in the first draft!

    Cheers,
    Sue
    sbmason at sympatico dot ca

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  58. You know what always jumps out at me.....
    And it's redundancy in a way, but when someone does a lovely job of using words and body movements to convey reaction, mood, emotion, then adds one more sentence spelling it out.
    Example:
    Leo's fists tightened and fire flashed in his eyes. He was furious.

    See what I mean? You don't need HE WAS FURIOUS. I get it. Stop it.

    She screamed and staggered back from the menacing figure. She was terrified.

    Writer's do this all the time and I think it's grounded in a lack of self-confidence. Not believing they got the mood right in teh first sentence so underlining it with the second.

    But that second sentence GRINDS YOUR STORY TO A HALT. Especially since usually strong emotional moments are fast paced, so a dead sentence like that ruins the movement and pace. It pulls the reader out of a very deeply engrossing story.

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  59. Hi Susan! You're surrounded by males with bad hearing. :-)Can we excuse our redundancy on readers who don't listen? I like that!

    I can't stop myself in the draft stage with some of these bugaboos. Maybe one day. You're exactly right. We use them in our everyday speech so they naturally infest our manuscripts. Tightening prose with an eye to the list will catch them better than a trap catches mice.

    Janet

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  60. Hi Lee Ann, love that you're printing off the post. Thanks!
    Thanks for hanging in Seekerville!

    Janet

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  61. Mary, great point! When we show beautifully, we don't need to tell.

    But I do.

    Sometimes I shorten it and say: Terrified, she screamed and staggered back from the menacing figure.

    Sigh.

    Gotta stop that!

    Janet

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  62. As the hand of the clock approaches noon, I'm bringing out lunch. On the buffet you'll find pop and iced tea, homemade chicken salad with grapes, hardboiled eggs, celery and a dash of curry. I have an assortment of sweet bread--pumpkin, zucchini, and date--along with cream cheese and whirled pumpernickle and white bread for those who want to make a sandwich. A platter of ripe Georgia peaches in honor of Missy and Debby, and gold, pink and red heirloom tomatoes for me. Sorry, I brought plenty and will share. But don't wait too long. :-)

    Janet

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  63. Mary I'm guilty of showing then telling. I agree it is a confidence issue. The more I write and learn the less I feel the need to tell the reader what they just read.

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  64. Sorry to hear that Helen! Will keep you in my prayers

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  65. Okay, y'all do know that Janet came up with this post BECAUSE OF ME. She was just too nice to say so. LOL

    I do just about everyone of those things. And Janet, bless her heart, marks every occurrence so I can fix them. :) I now have my own check list--with most of these things included, plus tailored for me with some others. Janet, I promise to faithfully use my check list on this new story. :)

    Great post!! And you even made it fun.

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  66. I catch myself in all these mistakes more than I'd like. Especially the mode you described as "walking the dog." Everything starts moving in slow motion. Maybe I just need more caffeine when this happens. I might try that next time. I have a hunch dark chocolate would do the trick.

    Hmm. One thing I can't stand as a reader is when the author changes the main character's eye/hair color multiple times throughout the story. I've seen this done more than once and by well-known authors, though it seems to happen more in co-authored books.

    Oh those peaches have my mouth watering! There is nothing in this world like a fresh southern peach. YUM!

    Don't enter me for the book. It's up next on my TBR shelf. I can't wait to read it! :)

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  67. Kav, I snorted on that, too! Only I was lucky not to have oatmeal in my mouth at the time. LOL

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  68. Jamie and Vince, thanks for listening!
    Mary, my cp used to mark: RUE for resist the urge to explain. :)

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  69. I have a box of locally grown peaches on my counter right now making the kitchen smell wonderful!

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  70. Hi Missy:

    You did great with your interview but at the very end you had me shouting at my computer!

    You were asked, “What advice would you give a woman thinking of marrying a pastor,” and while you were thinking of an answer, I was saying:

    “Pray, Pray, Pray”.

    Vince

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  71. Hi Janet:

    Wow! 71 comments before noon. You seem to always have inquiring topics. : )


    About Redundancy:

    The biggest communication problem: people don’t get the other person’s attention before they start speaking!

    I’ll be in my home office reading with music playing and it will occur to me that my wife is talking in the kitchen. I don’t know if she is talking to me, the dog, or on the phone. Often she is actually asking me a question, which of course, I have to ask her to repeat. It’s just polite to get someone’s attention before you start talking to them. (And if you are a salesman, it’s also important to get the person’s permission to talk to them.)

    The second biggest communication problem: men don’t obey. Men hear you just fine. They just don’t want to do it. This is not a communications problem. It’s an obedience problem. Obedience school anyone?

    Rule of Thumb:

    It’s not redundant if you didn’t hear it the first time. Not everyone pays total attention all the time they are reading fiction.

    It is true that an author can get upset when reading a passage that Mary quotes:

    Example:
    Leo's fists tightened and fire flashed in his eyes. He was furious.

    However, a reader will almost never object. All redundancy does is reinforce in the reader’s mind what was shown but may have been missed. Now, if the reader missed the meaning of the showing, then the redundancy is a meaning saver.

    As a writer, I was very upset with the Woody Allen movie, “Midnight in Paris”, when the hero explicitly explains the theme of the story (the moral premise) after it was clearly shown to anyone with a brain. But the viewers who didn’t ‘get it’, will fully enjoy being told what the point of the movie was.

    I really think authors need to keep in mind that they are writing for readers to read and not just for other writers.

    Ask NASA: redundancy can be a very good thing.


    Vince

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  72. Walking the dog.
    I knew a book I was writing was in trouble when the hero and heroine had a lengthy talking scene while they put groceries away. Dull.

    I needed to liven it up. I believe it was Ruthy who suggested I leave a door open and allow a small child to run out into traffic. That livened things up like CRAZY. And no, this has never been published (shocker!)

    ReplyDelete
  73. I'd say my two biggest ones of late are "--ing" construction and starting with And/But. But (there I go!) I'm on my first draft. I'm spewing. I'll save this for when it's time to start killing the bugaboos.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Hi Janet:

    I’ve seen ‘headstones’ used before. This is sometimes a hot topic on writing blogs. I love headstones; my wife does not like them. She just read a J.A. Jance book that was full of headstones (one every few pages) and the headstone even included the temperature. My wife said, “Why do I need to know the temperature?” She never did find out why the temperature was always given. (I’ll have to read the book and find out what the author was up to!)

    I hope more people know the term ‘headstones’! In my paranormal book “Characters in a Romance”, I have characters land in a cemetery where all the headstones have ‘headstones’ (inscriptions) from actual novels rather than people’s names and dates. It occurs to my characters that this is not a ‘right proper’ cemetery. (This is why I think I need footnotes!)

    BTW: Doesn’t Tina allow for the use of up to three explanation points? I think I got that rule here at Seekerville.

    Vince

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  75. Hi Janet! Great post. Are you sure you weren't reading my manuscripts, LOL? Um, I think I've committed most of those bugaboos, so I'm grateful for the reminder to buckle down and scrub away the dross.

    ReplyDelete
  76. A 'but-er' and and 'ing-er'--love it, Kav! I'm right there with you!

    Sheri, I'm no fan of head-hopping either. Even when an author does it skillfully, transitioning only once mid-scene, it still catches me off guard. (Ruthy, I know you're good at this, but many writers aren't.)

    Jan, I've read a book from NetGalley on my Kindle. Seems like they haven't quite gotten the Kindle formatting right in that stage of pre-publication.

    And my personal bugaboos? I'd put them under the "redundancy" category.

    "He shrugged his shoulders." Is there another body part you can shrug?

    "She nodded her head." Same here. What else can you nod?

    ReplyDelete
  77. GREAT article, Janet! So many of the bugaboos you mention are the very ones I drive my critique partners crazy pointing out (and finding in my own writing, as well - I'm as guilty as anyone else). I have a problem with writers using "that" when "who" should be used, as well. And (yep, I started the sentence with a bugaboo) I really hate seeing five or six sentences all starting with the same word. Usually it's "she" or "he," but it is annoying, whatever the word.

    Wonderful post!

    delia(at)delialatham(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  78. Now, Missy, that's not true. We all do these things! I've had a few of them beaten out of me. Not literally of course. :-) The rest I still struggle to avoid. I'm doing AAs. I just changed If only there was another way to If only she had another way.

    I did notice that you said, Janet, bless her heart. Now is this the sweet southern slap in the face bless her heart or a genuine blessing?

    This northerner wants to know. :-)

    Janet

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  79. Natalie, great idea to eat dark chocolate to energize ourselves to skip the boring stuff and speed to the action. I know I've walked the dog in revisions when I start thinking, who cares? LOL

    Here's a cyberhug (()) for having Wanted: A Family on your TBR pile. Jenny, here's your hug too. (())Promise me you won't keep this bugaboo list beside you as you read the book. Okay???

    Janet

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  80. Missy, love RUE! Another fun acronym. Until it's applied to my mss.

    Janet

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  81. LOL Vince! Will be fun to see how Missy feels about your advice to pray, pray, pray.

    Janet

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  82. Wow. What a great list, and yes, these are things that become repetitive and ultimately make the book seem amateur. Strapping on my oozie as we speak ... I'm off to do some killing.
    http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  83. Hi Janet,
    This is great information that I am going to keep.
    What makes me cringe is the "As you know..."characters and you DO already know.
    Thanks so much for writing this,
    Janet

    janet(underslash)kerr(at)msn(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  84. .
    From askance to dance:

    “One person’s bugaboo is another person’s boogaloo..”
    .

    ReplyDelete
  85. Vince, I love hearing the male perspective on the topic of communication. As the Ann Landers of Seekerville, I have advice.

    Your wife should not be blamed for speaking from another room. In romance novels the hero is never in another room. He's right there with the heroine, gazing into her eyes and shoveling butterflies into her stomach. My suggestion is to stay where she is. I guarantee this will improve communication.

    Thanks for opening my eyes to the fact that a male's apparent inability to hear is a passive aggressive cover for disobedience. I actually approve of this. A smart wife will hire the chore done.

    Kidding aside, bless you, Vince, for making me feel better about redundancy. You always brighten my day!

    Janet

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  86. Mary, I'm sure you'll find a way to make putting groceries away either hilarious or dangerous. LOL

    Janet

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  87. Smart to spew away, Patricia, and kill the bugaboos later.

    I've been amazed how often I use and and but. I wonder if I talk that way. Hard to listen to yourself, but I'll try.

    Janet

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  88. Vince, your paranormal sounds fascinating!!!! Wow, what a fun story idea! A cemetery of settings. A character cemetery. I'm sure we'd all like to bury a few. Your mind is a fun place to visit.

    Tina is MIA. So I used four exclamation points. Heehee.

    Janet

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  89. Christine, Scrub away the dross has such a lovely ring to it. Far nice than kill your bugaboos. Are you British?

    I've never noticed these bugs in your books.

    Our new goal--a bugfree book. :-)

    Janet

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  90. Good ones, Myra! Think of the words we could lose if we weren't redundant.

    Janet

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  91. Janet, I'm so glad there are others out there like me. I have waited my whole life to find them....people who admit to making mistakes;)

    I have a problem with the ing. It stalks me. I've contacted the authorities...will let you know how it turns out.

    As for reading...I can't stand when people use that that. "If she did that that would change her fate forever."

    Blah.
    Pleas enter me:jthompson711(at)gmail(dot)com.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Delia, thanks! Nice to see I'm not alone in seeing this stuff in the writing of others but not in my own.

    Janet

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  93. Tracy, great point! I hadn't thought of it but when overdone these bugaboos do make our writing appear amateurish. The key is overdone.

    From the oozie you're strapping on, I'm guessing you write suspense. Your bugaboos don't stand a chance.

    Janet

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  94. Hey, Janet, you came up with two biggie bugaboos I missed.

    As you know and you do know--yikes talk about an amateurish way to forcefeed readers information.

    Janet

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  95. Fun Vince! Boogy time in Seekerville!

    Janet

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  96. Ah, Jennifer. You need to hang out in Seekerville more often. We admit mistakes here. How else can we learn and change? Neat part--it's good practice for writing teachable characters.

    Good thing I wasn't eating oatmeal when you said, "I have a problem with the ing. It stalks me. I've contacted the authorities...will let you know how it turns out."

    Please do! I need ing tossed into a cell without parole.

    Janet

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  97. Guilty, guilty - a THOUSAND times guilty! Definitely needed this post. This needs to be a CHECKLIST :) May make it one!

    Please enter me for Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. Already read "Wanted: A Family" - was wonderful :)

    joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

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  98. Hi Janet, I think all of us writers find our bugaboos crawling around our manuscripts. I have to keep telling myself that my first draft is allowed to be trash; I can iron those bugs out later! Thanks for a fun read.

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  99. I'm guilty of "so" many of them. I "just" can't get away from them. I think "that" I do it so much. heeheehee
    Oh yeah, and people who put "everything" in quotes.

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  100. Vince! I was so flustered by that question that I didn't even think of that! Of course, I guess I would assume that she'd already prayed about marrying the man in the first place. :)

    Plus, I didn't think advising her to run the other direction would be very pc. LOL (Just kidding!!)

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  101. LOL, Janet! In this case, it's truly a blessing.

    Now, if I'd said: Janet, bless her heart, can't help that she drools when she eats... Well, that's a backhanded slap.

    :)

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  102. Joanne, this isn't a matter of guilt or innocence. These bugaboos creep into our manuscripts without our permission. The roaches, flies and mice of the writers world, infesting our fabulous creativity with specks and droppings. Yuck. Be right back. I'm getting the hand sanitizer.

    Janet

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  103. Hi Rick! Very nice to see another male in Seekerville! I like the image of ironing out the bugaboos. Less hands on. Let the hot iron do the work.

    Do you really iron? Don't tell, but I'm one of the few Seekers who do.

    Sigh. I probably scared him off.

    Janet

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  104. Love it, Linda! You know how to have fun with the bugaboos. Once we get control of those pests, they are fun to play with.

    I prefer italics to quotation marks. :-)

    Janet

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  105. Oh, Janeto ... you nailed my butt to the wall more times than I can count, sweetie, and it doesn't feel real good!!

    Seriously, I SOOO agree with you on many of these points, but as hard as I have tried to stay away from pet body parts, I simply cannot. I have more lumps bobbing in throats and brows jutting high than any other author in the market, but for me, it's the only way to show exactly how a character is feeling in a situation, which bottom line, is exactly how I am feeling in that situation. I am a very dramatic person, with eyebrows and throat lumps going ALL THE TIME, so it just comes naturally to me. I may have to sign up for Pet Body Parts Anonymous ... :)

    LOVED your redundancy, you cutie, you, and your statement that characters describing themselves are "are too stupid to live" -- what a total hoot!!

    Fun post, Janet, and I am SO sorry I'm late swinging by.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. Now, if I'd said: Janet, bless her heart, can't help that she drools when she eats... Well, that's a backhanded slap.

    :)

    Oh, Missy, you are a southern belle for sure.

    Gotta ask. Have you planted a camera on my monitor? ;-)

    Janet

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  107. Julie, never too late for a Lessman appearance!

    Pet Body Parts Anonymous ... :)

    I want to join!!!!!

    Oh, oh, here comes Tina with the exclamation point shears.

    Hiding.

    Janet

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  108. Timecheck: 100+ comments and it's only 2pm here.

    I'm guilty of 'walking the dog'. I think because when I'm reading a book and the scene jumps from one day to a couple days later and I know the hero and heroine see each other daily because of the setting, I feel like I'm missing those in-between times with them.

    I'm also guilty of 'pet' body parts. And that's also because - as a reader - I like to know what their eyes, mouth and gut are doing or feeling. Those are the essence of emotion for me.

    And whaddya mean I shouldn't start a sentence with 'and' or 'but'? But I like doing it that way!

    What makes me cringe? Telling me in every scene why the main characters can't get together. Or repeating their goals and motivations on every 2nd page. (I suppose this falls under reduncancy, but you did ask.)

    Loved the post, Janet.

    anitamaedraper (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  109. Janet,
    Thanks for providing a great self-editing review!

    I'm guilty of every mistake you mentioned. Hopefully, I've caught a lot of the errors during the revision phase...although I'm sure many slipped by and remain in my published stories.

    Good to be back in Seekerville. Hubby and I were in California for his family reunion. I told everyone about Seekerville. Hope some of them will visit the blog.

    Waving to any Giusti family members who stop by to say hello!

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  110. Janet! 110 comments! Gazooks.

    I shoulda got here earlier, but I've been staring at my interview in my local paper all day. lol

    They uploaded it to their fb page and it's been fun to see it there.

    Great blog post today Janet!

    I think I'm guilty of several of those you mentioned.

    Just today, I was reading something and thought, hmmm, the writer already said that. Couldn't he have used a different word?

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  111. I really enjoyed this post! It was so helpful. Thanks Janet :)

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

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  112. Anita, from your response, I think you had some jaw clenching and gut aching going on. :-) We all do this stuff. I find it difficult to express emotion and reactions in a fresh way. And I love starting sentences this way. LOL

    I loved that you took the time to visit.

    The kill your bugaboos party is still young.

    Janet

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  113. Debby's back! One of our Georgia peaches has been partying with CA family! If Debby lured any Giustis to stop by, please leave a comment. You might win my book. You'd want that right? Free, mailed to your home. No fuss, no muss.

    Janet

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  114. Pam, share the link, girlfriend! I want to read the interview. Others will want to come. We'll storm Facebook.

    Janet

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  115. Faye, great to see you here! Any bugaboos that especially irritate you?

    Janet

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  116. Yay, Pam. I would too, if I were you.

    I agree with Janet - share the link - or do you have to buy the paper first? In which case run off a copy and show me in St. Louis. :)

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  117. Ok, Vince, I had to stop reading comments and respond to your post on 'headstones'. I actually didn't know that term, but figured it out from the way you used it the first time. A WIP that just finaled in the TARA got comments from two judges that it needed to let the reader know WHERE they were and WHEN they were. I'd never thought of it, but they were right.
    AND when you talked about your graveyards with headstones- have you ever read 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman? It's a YA and the characters are all referred to by their epitaphs. It's so funny! It's one of my favorite books ever... I would snag your 'headstones' book in a second on your description. What a great idea!

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  118. This poem is for Tina: BBR*

    He who is without guilt

    Before you condemn redundancy
    ask yourself how happy you’d be
    with just one ear, or just one eye
    or just one hand to wave goodbye.

    Before you condemn redundancy,
    remember even God comes in three.

    If the bugaboo blues have got you down
    Try boogalooercise like in New York town:

    Zydeco Boogaloo from the Big Apple:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io7Z_8s9aIk

    After you dance your blues away
    think of redundancy
    in a different way.

    A rose is a rose is a rose
    Could any verse
    be any worse?
    Should Gertrude Stein
    have changed that line?
    A rose is a flower, is a plant, is thorny.
    It’s not redundant but it sure is corny.

    *By belated request.
    .

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  119. WOW! Great post, Janet--and a definite keeper! I am sorry to say I could identify with most (if not all, LOL) of your bugaboo examples. BUT (oops! I shouldn't be starting my sentence with that*sigh*) that's another reason I LOVE to visit Seekerville. I learn SO MUCH here! ~ Thank you again for sharing this, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading WANTED: A FAMILY a while back---you're a talented author. Hugs, Patti Jo :)

    ReplyDelete
  120. Hi Virginia:

    I haven’t read “The Graveyard Book” but I just downloaded it for my Kindle. It has 4 ½ stars on Amazon with 474 reviews. I love a good YA. I seem to learn more from YAs. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be reading this book tonight.

    Here is a passage from my book.
    Just for fun: can anyone name the books?

    The characters have just landed in a cemetery in an underground world. (I really do have a book).

    “I can read the inscription now,” said Victor. “It reads: Mosqueros, Texas, 1867.

    “Is there no name?” said Missy.

    “No name that I can see. Let me try another marker. This one reads: Boston, Massachusetts, The Day After Thanksgiving, 1918.

    “Maybe these people didn’t want to put their names down. Maybe this is hell and they didn’t want to publicized they are here.” Missy said.

    “I don’t think this is hell but I do think it could be one hell of a nightmare.” Victor said.

    “I don’t want to be part of anybody’s nightmare,” Missy said. “Being a fictional character within someone eles’s nightmare is like being twice removed from being a real person.”

    “Here’s the third marker, Venice, 1525 A Notorious Woman. This doesn’t seem like a right proper cemetery.”

    “Why would anyone put ‘A Notorious Woman’ on their tombstone?” Missy said.

    “Her husband may have put it there,” Lenny said, “I’ve seen a lot worse in my travels around time.” (Lenny has the time disease).


    Vince

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  121. Janet!!

    I read this at 4am and then forgot to post. This is awesome and I am printing it up.

    I keep an index card of Bugaboos but you really nailed some I forgot about.

    Tina Radcliffe at work on her break

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  122. Janet I think part of the problem with words to close to the spine is not so much the authors word count its more the way the book has been published sometimes the distance between the spine and writing is not the same as the words to the edge of the page sometimes its quite a bit different.

    On some books and the kindle I have had a couple of publishes tell me the kindle version isn't as good on the kindle for the galley and offer a pdf instead.

    one thing that can be annoying for some readers (ok me)is the use of big words or the over use of big words.
    I read a book and the author was obviously extremely intelligent and would use big words that you need to look up in the dictionary to find out the meaning.
    It was of putting as I do have trouble with some words and trying to work out how to pronounce the words made it hard at time but it also felt like over kill.

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  123. Well, I'm not very good at those links, but I'll try...

    They were good enough to upload it to fb.

    Hope this works...

    Pam's interview in

    The Newton County Appeal

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  124. Great post, Janet.
    I'm printing this like so many others said.
    VERY IMPORTANT
    er....let me repeat ;-)

    Oh Helen, praying for your family (and hers)
    39?!? wow!

    I'm with Vince - love headstones!
    It organizes my (sigh) less than organized brain. I'll take the help :-)

    And I LOVE 'ing' words - to at point that goes far beyond redundancy ;-)

    Thanks for these wonderful tips, Janet.

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  125. Laughing my 'butt' off at Julie's comment (gee, I wish that could be literal)

    Pet body parts?
    The first time I read that I took it literally and had to reread! I thought, "when does Jules talk about pet body parts in her books? I can't recall it being an issue."
    LOL
    Long day
    Brain fuzz
    My mind is very full of bugaboos

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  126. I agree with Anita, Pam. If not a link, bring the paper to ACFW. Did they take a picture? Tell us more!

    Janet

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  127. Virginia, the YA you describe sounds like great fun! What age group would you suggest to read it? Would a boy like the book?

    Vince, two of us are dying to read the book. Ah, since the setting is a cemetery, let me reword that. You have two eager readers for your paranormal. :-)

    Janet

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  128. LOL Vince! I love your poetry!! Very clever, my friend.

    Thanks for the link. I think I could handle the washboard vest. Maybe.

    Boogaloo!!!

    Janet

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  129. Patty Jo, you made my day, which was already great, even better. Thanks!

    Hugs, Janet

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  130. Vince, this is fun! Mosqueros, Texas, 1867 is Mary Connealy country! Petticoat Ranch?

    Venice, 1525, A Notorious Woman by Amanda McCabe?

    Boston, Massachusetts, The Day After Thanksgiving, 1918 is Julie Lessman's A Passion Redeemed!

    Yay!!! Do I win?

    Janet

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  131. Tina, you are still at work? I'd come over there and haul you home if I was closer. Your public's been clamoring for you!

    So how many exclamation points do you allow in Seekerville posts?

    Janet

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  132. Jenny, too many big words bog me down. Makes me think dictionary more than story.

    Another bugaboo your comment reminded me of is author's giving characters first names I can't pronounce. I struggle to bond with what someone nameless, at least in my mind.

    Janet

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  133. Vince, you're awesome!

    Janet, the book begins with a reference to a massacre, which I edited out when I read it to my kids (6-10 at the time). The rest is very good, and definitely for a boy, since the main character is a boy about 12 who's been raised in a graveyard, by the inhabitants, and decides he wants to go out in the world. But he's never done anything 'normal' so he ahs to learn it all. The writing is amazing but what I loved was the coming of age story with a twist!
    No sex or drugs, but depends on the child how old they would be to really enjoy the death issues. It's very funny to us, but we're a bunch of jokers in this house.

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  134. Pam, the article on you is awesome!!! Wow, lots of columns, a large picture! Terrific copy!! Love it!!! What fabulous publicity!!!!!

    Never fear, Tina will approve of the exclamation points.

    If you haven't be sure to sign up for the free Kindle loaded with Seeker books. :-) Pass the word.

    Janet

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  135. Hi Pepper! Thanks. Getting rid of ing has been a hard pill to swallow. I keep a few to tame my frustrated brain. And nice to know that others just love ings too. ;-)

    Janet

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  136. LOL Pepper! Nailing it or laughing it off, the stubborn thing's still there in my chair.

    Janet

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  137. Great post, Janet! I'm guilty of almost everything. Writing is so hard! I think I'll print this out. But to find my mistakes before my editor does.

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  138. What a great editing checklist, Janet! I know writing has a big creative element, but I also like it when things sort of have a formula and I can plug in the variables...and I'm not even a math person! : ) I'll definitely need to print this one out. Thanks! Stacey

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  139. Cara, no guilty parties in Seekerville. Just writers trying to do their best.

    I think I'm talking to myself. :-)

    Night all!

    Janet

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  140. Good evening, Stacey! Almost turned out the lights. Sorry!

    They say rules are to be broken but like you I'm comforted to have guidelines. Plot, conflict and character are way harder. No seek and find with those. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Janet

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  141. Oh Janet I agree. Some of the names in books I cant pronounce. I tend to have a different name in my head. In a book I was reading recently it was a german name and the hero in his head was working out how to say the name and what it sounded like to him this helped me know the name for the rest of the books.

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  142. Hi Jenny! Mind helping me clean up the buffet table? I'm saving the leftovers for Mary's lunch.

    Love the author's clever way of helping readers pronounce the name. Thanks for sharing the idea and for helping!

    Janet

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  143. Hi Janet:

    You got all the headstones correct! Is it ok for me to send you a prize?

    I’ve read 5% of the “Graveyard Book” and it has illustrations and as of now it reads a lot like the “Lovely Bones” which my wife and I both loved. (The movie was poor but the book was outstanding.) I’m totally hooked!

    I’ve read everyone’s comments and enjoyed them all. This is a perfect topic! Thanks.

    Vince

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  144. I might not have time to read all the comments, but I take the time to read Vince's.

    Loved your tombstone stuff!

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  145. Sure I will help but there are alot of left overs. go thing is lunch time here!

    It was really good to know how to pronounce the name it was Wande but to the hero it sounded like One day. it really did help I would have been seeing it as Wanda.

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  146. Great post, Janet!

    Like Pam, I'm too late and too tired to go through all the comments.

    I kept thinking you might have "even" as a bugaboo. Not sure how to give an example.

    "He laughed even harder."

    "There wasn't even a crumb left."

    Does that make sense or is this okay? I'm too brain dead to think of a better example.

    Would love to win the Nancy Cress book. I've got Janet's book. :) Thanks for a very meaty post, Janet! Lots to think about.

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  147. I love this, Janet!!!!!!! Printing it off.
    Hugs
    Cheryl

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  148. The one word that I hate to see overused is "said". If your characters are having a conversation I don't think you need to continually use 'he said' or 'she said'. As a reader I can usually figure out who is talking and I skip over the words, "he said" or "she said". I will admit that sometimes it is necessary to use "said" but couldn't another word fit just as well?

    Have a wonderful day in Seekerville!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  149. I'm printing it out as well. I have a huge list of things I check off when editing a chapter, and I want to make sure all of your Bugaboos are also on my list.

    Thanks so much Janet!

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  150. Oops! I forgot to say I would love to win Nancy's book! Can always use more "learnin'".

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  151. Hi Vince,

    Sure, I love prizes and rarely win anything!

    Thank you for popping in and out all day. Appreciate it!

    Glad the YA hooked you. Let me know if it's appropriate for a 12 yo boy. Grandma wants to know. :-)

    Janet

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  152. Jenny, wonderful to have your help. Especially appreciated you took home some leftovers for your lunch. At least those won't turn fuzzy on us. LOL

    Janet

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  153. Cathy, I'll even add even to my list of bugaboos! ;-) Good one!

    Janet

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  154. Thanks Cheryl! Good to see that sweet smile at this hour.

    Janet

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  155. Hi Cindy! When said is overused it is annoying. Lots of craft books recommend it over other tags like exclaimed. I prefer using actions to show the speaker but even that can get repetitious. No one said this writing gig was easy. You're in the drawing for Nancy's book.

    Janet

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  156. Hi Debra! What would we do without our lists? :-) Thanks!

    Janet

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  157. Thanks for this post Janet. I'm editing my story now, so this was very timely for me.
    Thanks!

    joyfuljel(at)gmail(dot)com

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  158. Hi Jackie, hope the bugaboo list helps with those edits!

    Janet

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  159. Hello Mrs. Dean;
    You don't know me, but I'm also a starter writer, if that makes any sense. But I have already written 2 books and am in the middle of finishing my 3rd one and don't have them published yet, but I'd like to be considered for the critique drawing. To see if my stories are good enough. But I also liked your post. :)

    megan, karate(dot)kid(dot)92(at)hotmail dot com.

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