Category Archives: Writing Wednesday

Discovering the magic and wonder of assembling words for writing fiction and nonfiction.

Fire the internal editor for the first draft

robert de niro quoteAmateur Writer Mistake #3 — I went back to re-read the stuff from the day before. I thought it would help inspire me to continue forward and pick up where I left off. Selfishly, I wanted to recycle that dopamine hit from the day before. (You know, the one where you look back on your effort with pride, pat yourself on the back and bask in your own brilliance?) So I broke the rule and re-read. BAD idea. It’s the first draft and I know better. BAH! Yesterday’s brilliance is today’s folly and my inner editor was horrified. “Half as long! Half as long!!!! What is this meandering? Your character has changed his personality far too much! This stinks to high heaven!” (My inner editor shouts and isn’t the least bit kind.) I want to go back and re-write rather than move forward. Disappointed and overwhelmed with self-doubt, I consider quitting. The defeatist says, “what is the point of this?! I’m wasting my time! I’m going to make tons of mistakes.” (like I do in Life…uh oh…hello darkness my old friend….) And then, imaginary friends, the writing stops. I’ve paralyzed myself with doubts and negativity. Logically, I know how the process works: Write it all out in a rush, go back and refine, then refine some more, and polish it. Next, pass it to someone else so they can rip it to shreds. Then fix it and refine it. On and on it goes until maybe, it’s as good as it’s gonna get and you send it out into the cosmos. If you’re lucky, someone reads it. Then you might be allowed to crawl into someone’s head and run amuck providing new experiences and imagery forming a temporary connection. Is that the pay-off, the temporary connection? (*mind explodes*) Well, let’s not think too long about that right now. There are stories to be told, ideas to be shaped and sentences to be sculpted. Here comes the dopamine!

Are you a plotter or (I hate this term) pant-ser? (pantsing is writing without an outline) Email admin@finepointpen.com or Comment.

Slang + Jargon = Slargon

Slargon

-click for full size – Slargon

“When our vertical integration synergizes to leverage our core competencies, we add value and increase market share.”

“Well Bob, that’s true as long as we engage our best practices to fully support the effective implementation of competency based management.”

“All yo set better be hustlin’ for dat paper.”

“Word.”

Slang + Jargon = Slargon.  We tie together ideas using these social codes in an effort to save time and believe we have reached an understanding. We sputter words without saying much of anything in terms of meaningful content. It’s a great way to socially fit in while giving no specific direction or making any tangible promises. Read More

Who gives a @#$%&! about an Oxford comma?

(My apologies to the music group Vampire Weekend for hijacking their lyric.) Writing Wednesday has been full of dull information. It’s been less than charming to see people argue over the use of the Oxford comma. When I was in high school, my 10th grade English teacher bled red ink all over my papers if I used one. She told me we were using AP style. (She also got really irritated with the way my awesome short story ended.  She wrote a piece about Mike Tyson being her hero. It wasn’t very good. I thought of her with a smirk when he chewed Evander Holyfield’s ear off. Ms. English Teacher, grab a dictionary because that’s not very heroic.)  Not to put too fine of a point on it but her judgement was questionable. Every teacher had a different idea of what was preferable. Between punctuation and the various American/British spellings of words, I’m having a fabulous time.

I’ve listed an example below for those of you who don’t understand the Oxford comma ISSUE.

I love my parents, Rob Lowe, and Miss Piggy.
(That mark just before the word “and” is the Oxford comma. It’s supposed to let the reader know I’m listing 3 different things.)

I love my parents, Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.
(Same sentence without the Oxford comma)

Without this tiny mark, there’s a chance that someone might think I’m declaring that my parents are Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.

First of all, it’s rare that these sorts of questions would come up. Most of the time, the list is such that this confusion would not occur. Second, if I wanted you to know that my parents are Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy, I could use a colon and remove all doubt.

I love my parents: Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.

Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy

I’m a proud multi-species pen.

Third, I’m sorry Kermit. They just couldn’t control their passion for each other.

The worst part of writing a book, so far, has been watching people attempt to eviscerate each other online as I double check that tiny little jots and squiggles are all in the right place.

2nd Amateur Writer Error: I forgot that I’ll never please Everyone.

13 books I devoured in January

read all of the books!It’s Writing Wednesday! I’m working to complete my first novel this year.  No rookie experience would be complete without All of the newbie mistakes. I have the least amount of experience writing fiction so I’m trying to ramp up on knowledge while organizing the story and shaping the characters. What started as a simple story has become super complicated. Amateur mistake  #1:  I forgot the Keep It Simple rule.

I’m learning so much and I read a lot.  I believe that the more you read, the better. But if I don’t get really disciplined this can become a case of ready, aim……ready….aim………….ready…. Argh—just fire, already!!!!!

Here’s what I’ve read so far in 2016: Read More