This weekend I rummaged through “the trunk”.
There sooo should be an ominous dunh dunh dunh dunh after that.
This is the trunk where I keep my old stories. We’re talking about my teenage Sweet Valley High-esque stories starring Donnie Wahlberg to my more current freaky stories starring whoever pops across my radar. Usually someone with longish hair who’s muscled and sex-on-a-stick beautiful.
The purpose of the trip down memory lane? I’m finishing up my current work in progress and am fishing for ideas. You never know where the next one will come from. An old idea can be revamped and just plain vamped up. Donnie Wahlberg can morph into Antonio Banderas and the jealous ex-girlfriend can transform into the disturbed secretary who hid her homicidal tendencies until the hero’s love for the heroine triggered her psychotic break. Hey! Let me write that down…
The one thing I came away with? My writing has come a loooong way! Whew boy! While reading I cringed and yelled WTF so many times I ended up with a crick in my neck and a blue streaked cloud above my head. The top violators that I can share only because I—thank God!—have become better with them are:
1. There was so much purple prose you would’ve thought the story was an ode to Barney! Vaginas were blooming and laughter was tinkling all over the place! How does one’s genitalia unfurl anyway?
2. I enjoyed a fifteen-year-long love affair with adverbs. Slowly. Quickly. Wryly. Continually. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly. Okay, I was a tad bit facetious but my point is I’ve come to appreciate and utilize stronger verbs. Definitely.
3. Wait. Listen. Did you hear that? A shut door. Ooh! There’s another one. I never delved behind the closed door! While reading I was left wondering what happened? And I wrote it! I didn’t liberate my inner vixen until a couple of years ago and how sad is it that I was left frustrated by my own writing? Sheesh! I was a prude!
4. If I paused, I threw in a comma. If I breathed, yawned or scratched something I threw in a comma. If it just sounded like it needed a comma I added it. Except where they were required…like after dialogue with a tag. Through the power of a comma quiz, great critique partners and a fabulous editor, I am learning not to abuse them. It’s a hard road but I am treading it…
5. My characters now have goal, motivation and conflict. Back then. Umm…not so much. My stories really could’ve been completed in three chapters because all my characters had to do was have a ten-minute conversation and *ABRACADABRA* problem solved. Not to mention, they argued a lot but damned if I know why…
So I have shared my literary foibles with you. What writing faux pas have you been guilty of?