I am a member of the Clay County Writer’s group. We meet once a month, and there is usually a “professional” writer or editor who presents a facet of the trade to the members. This evening we had an editor along to discuss basic mistakes she sees all too often in her trade.
Her talk was enlightening in some respects. The use of ‘default’ words and fall-back phrases writers fall into because they can’t think of another way to begin a sentence or describe an action, or always starting a sentence with a gerund – Louie La’mour did this as a matter of course: “Turning, Cabel stood and reached for his…”, and over-description. This is a nasty one, because it does not allow or encourage the reader to build a scene in his or her own mind. It gives the reader the excuse to drop your book and pick up another. It bores the reader to tears, in fact.
I have been writing for a few score years, and I still find myself falling into these traps. That is one very good reason to find an editor.
Here’s another thought:
Writing is a solitary activity. You need peace and quiet within and without yourself to write well. At the same time, writing is not something you can do all by yourself. There is no contradiction here. The act of writing is by nature solitary, but a solitary writer is a poor creature, indeed. Get out and meet other writers, join a writer’s group and get to know the people. You share similar likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams. Make professional connections. And friends. These are not people to be afraid of.
I hope you are having a good week, wherever you are.