Tuesday, April 17, 2012
From the editor's desk...
Yes, we all have them. I once found a thing online that listed a bunch of editor pet peeves and I cringed at the time realizing I was doing most of them.
Now that I know better, it's my turn to make you squirm.
*throws confetti and sharp objects*
Let's do it list style, shall we? Top Five Pet Peeves your editor will have:
5. I am SO! excited! That I am going! To end! Every sentence with !! Exclamation points!
I always wonder, when reading manuscripts like this, if the person yells a lot in real life. Think about your average day...how often do you really say something that would require an exclamation mark? Maybe when you shout, Oh My Gawd! but other than that...how many times, really? Now, if your character is dangling off the side of a cliff, hanging on by only one overgrown toenail...perhaps an exclamation mark or two is in order. But if the dialogue reads like this:
Ferdinand scratched his chin. "I don't know! Maybe I love you! Maybe we are out of milk! How should I know?"
With a flip of her auburn curls, Macy glared at him. "You should know! I bought milk when we were out! What more do you want?"
Uh...knock that shit off. It is really annoying.
4. The, wandering, commas,
This is another one that really, really confuses me. If, you have a bunch, of commas, splashed, randomly through, out, your manuscript, I can't, help, but pause, every damn, time, you type, one when, I read, it. Look up comma usage rules. Study that shit. You are making me pause too much! (see what I did there? I used an exclamation mark. Yeah, I am badass.)
3. Wash, rinse, repeat.
We all do this. Don't beat yourself up. There is that ONE WORD...that really describes what is going on in your book or how your hero looks in your head. And you use it and use it and I see it and it is all I see. Yes, her lips are juicy. But if you say juicy more than once in a small block of words and then again on the same page another juicy...after awhile even mathematically challenged readers like me start counting the juicy's. Don't make your reader count the juicy's.
2. Passive voice
I used to do this. I don't anymore. So now it sticks out like it is highlighted when others do it. Don't tell me what they were doing. What are they doing now? Using the find feature on Word, go through your manuscript and see how often you said 'was' and 'has been' or 'had' and if it pops up a whole bunch...
You're passive. Get active. Bring me into the scene with you. I want to see how juicy it is! (Heheh...double whammy.)
1. Head hopping
I am the poster child for the head hop. I used to be terrible about head hopping...I bounced over here and over there...all of it was really important stuff but it looks better from over here...and over there...
It was like tennis but without the cute little tennis costumes.
To this day, I swap perspectives. I almost always start out writing a story in first person and swap to third...and stay in third for the rest of the book. (I know, pov change and head hopping are two different things. I maintain that they are related in the writerly brain and if you are doing one, you are probably guilty of the other.) Lucky for me, my crit partners are great at catching me at this and stopping that stuff before it goes out the door...(Except Hypnotist-- for some reason, although one of my crits warned me that I had done it again... I submitted it with the first/third swap still in the manuscript. It has since been rewritten but...gah...they caught it and I STILL didn't fix it before someone else saw it.)
So, again, everyone does it. But we shouldn't do it. It, is bad, juicy, wrong! stuff. (I did a lot there...did you catch it?)
What are your pet peeves when you are reading other people's work? What are your weak points?