In many manuscripts, I encounter the repetition of “thing.” It’s what you use if you can’t bear to take the three minutes to identify a better word. George had some things to say to Rick. The thing is, Rick had something on his mind as well. I just want to make up a “thing” song to go along with the sentences. Thing, thing, thing, thing, thing, THING, thing, thing.
Romance requires the use of these sensory words: look, hear, touch, taste, feel. They’re all weak if overused, especially look. He flashed her a look while she looked at him. He looked at her. I find myself (another pet peeve–really, you find yourself? How cool is that? Where did you find yourself, at the ice cream truck?) consulting the thesaurus for alternatives. Watch, stare, gaze, eyed. Maybe I’ll save 1/2 of the looks.
Desert vs. dessert: There’s a way to remember this spelling. In the desert, there is a lack of water. Less. Less S. With dessert, you always want more. Two pieces of cake are better than one. Two Ss. Why am I always thinking about dessert (see picture)?
A paucity of physical description: This is especially true for multibook writers, those who have penned 10+ books. You may describe the romantic Greek villa, but leave out what hero and heroine look like. The more physical traits, the better for me. Oh, but you want the reader to imagine her version of the characters? Sorry to say, I’d rather more details. You don’t have to describe every freckle or say she looks like Mila Kunis’s twin, but if I can’t visualize them, I imagine these bald mannequins running around the Greek isles.
Fragment fatigue: Sometimes I like fragments. They can put emphasis on a passage. Even after hours in the jungle, escaping the dreaded Galzar monster baby, Jake Hunter almost cried with relief that he’d escaped the miles of poison ivy. Until he saw the rash on his abs. Some writers do it. All the time. It gets. Kind of annoying. Like so annoying. Why not craft a nice sentence, with several clauses, and make the fragment a rare thing?
General Pet Peeves:
“Literally” is like literally everywhere! (That usage is wrong, by the way) Is it so awful to say, “And he was like
literally calling me every two seconds…?” No way is he literally calling you every two seconds. You can remove literally and let the hyperbole stand on its own. Or is it that we want to sound literary by using literally? It’s much hoity-toitier than “basically” or “actually,” last year’s “literally.” I’m going to mutate this word and see if it takes off: Obliterally. I’m obliterally losing it.
From my magazine reading: Is it just me or does the phrase, “flaunting her curves…” really mean, “jiggling expansive body mass all over the place?” There are just certain celebrities who get the “flaunting her curves” treatment in the media. I flaunt my curves all the time on the treadmill. They are flaunting literally everywhere as I run. If I eat too much cake, I find myself flaunting myself over to Anthropologie to buy bigger clothes.
Just saying. I’ve become allergic to this one. It’s that smart-allecky I’m rude but, hey, at least it’s honest. I can’t wait for Just saying to become Just over.