Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Picky Things

Want to sound like an amatuer writer?

Do the following:

1) Use any dialogue tag except "said." An occasional "asked," "screamed," etc. is fine when its doubles as a verb. And please know where to place that tag (at the end of the sentence).

2) Overuse of "said." Try beats. And dialogue that's "so" your character, the reader doesn't need prompts to remind him who's speaking.

3) Use cliches and over-wrought phrases. Again occasionally, you can get away with it in dialogue, if it fits the person speaking. It's the "occasionally" that's key. And never, if you can manage it.

4) Dialogue that is not age or gender (don't start; you know what I mean) appropriate for your character.

5) Head-hopping. If you head-hop, you'd better have a darn good reason for it. Can't think of any.

6) Info dumping. And that includes a glut of back story.

7) Trying to sneak information into dialogue. "As you know, Bob..." Bob knows. Get on with it.

8) Passive verbs.

9) Inconsistences in facts, characters, etc.

10) A glaring amount of typos.

Of course, this checklist applies to me, too. Definitely scanning for these pesky weeds during self-editing and ripping them out when I find them.

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