Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Errors In Writing #1

Click here for the connecting post

My friends, here are the examples of what I didn't do right when I first started this fascinating journey.

1) Improper sentence structure (or rather, paragraph structure): As Wally hurriedly made his way across the park (to get away from the menacing crowd), he noticed that a change, however slight, had come over the park. No longer was there a carefree attitude permeating, but instead a fetid cloud of gloom suffocating. It took Wally only a minute to remember as he found a person that helped him this morning and who told him what went on after he left the park. That person told Wally ‘that the guy he caught was a serial child rapist who was currently out on bail (BAIL??) for sexually assaulting a 3 year old.’ Figures, thought Wally. ‘His partner was also out on bail for child prostitution.’ (Excuse me?) ‘What kind of judge’, the man continued, ‘would let two sick fucks like that out on bail? Oh wait; we live in New England where things like this are the norm. And you know what the scary part is? That the guy will try to press assault charges on you, and a sympathetic judge will probably let him do it.’

2) Improper usage of adjectives and adverbs: You name it, I wrote with the -ly attached to it. Almost every paragraph had an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs.

3) Improper dialogue structure (how not to write a phone conversation): “Yes. What is on your pretty little mind now?”…. “Really? That is an interesting thought.”…. “As a matter of fact, I would like that very much.”….. “What? You’ll meet me when?”…. “That’ll be kind of tough to do, I’m going out tonight.”…. “Yes, I do want to do that. However, tonight is not feasible. Now is feasible.”…. “Where am I now? I’m in a small park about three miles from where my family camps. You know the place I’m talking about? Yes, that’s the one.”…. “Well, if you can get here in about 10 minutes, we can discuss it, otherwise it will have to wait until Monday.”…. “YOU’RE WHERE???”

4) Proper scene breaks: This was a no-brainer, as in I wrote every single scene with no more than three paragraphs before double entering to signify a break within the same scene. In other words, in point number 3, the example was the beginning of an encounter between Wally and his forbidden love Azalea. If properly written, it would've been about a quarter page in length. However because of the way I was writing the story, that scene, although a quarter page in length, was stretched out to two pages.

5) Not using the writing guides that were available: Also a no brainer. Only guide I used was the 6th edition of The Gregg Reference Manual, which I got when I went to business school in 1994. So yeah, I was using a guide that was 12 years out of date.

6) Chapter breaks: Yeah, originally I wrote the entire thing with no chapter breaks. Repeat, No. Chapter. Breaks. Instead, I broke each section off and numbered it, I II III IV, and so on. Wound up with 120+ parts (and 90K words) before I figured out it was the wrong way to write this thing.

7) Improper font. Yeah, I did this the hard way too. I didn't like Times New Roman or New Courier, so I first started writing with the funkiest fonts I could find. Like what? Like Papyrus. Like Bradley Hand. Like Franklin Gothic. I finally settled on writing the first draft in Bookman Old Style, second draft in the font that you see here, which is Georgia, and third draft became Palatino Linotype. Font size? 11 point. Or 10 point, depending on my mood and frame of mind.


  1. Who is to decide what font is proper and what isn't?

    I love my friend Darth Weasel's proposal that there should be a sarcasm font.

  2. The first time I did querying, the agents and publishers had in their guidelines a preferred font of either New Courier or Times New Roman and point size of 12.

    Some now ask for a legible easy-to-read font and a point size of 12.

    A sarcasm font would do wonders for me, because as you know, I have problems writing sarcasm correctly.

  3. That's funny!
    I thought everyone knew about 12 pt times! Apparently it was nailed into my brain so often in college I never considered to send other fonts- Not every one has the other fonts on their machines to electronically read it either!

    In designing tho- anything goes!
    btw- The BAIL? thing was hilarious cause I live in MA!

  4. Snaggle: Honestly, I never really knew that fact. I always hated the default font (New Roman) and default point size (12) so I would change to something different and a smaller font.

    Man, if you knew many fonts I have for both Word and MSWorks it would blow you away.

    I wasn't even thinkin' about MA at the time but when I wrote it I was thinking about the worst possible scenario for a crime victim and that was the first thing that popped into my head. Yeah, both MA and VT/NH are notorious for this kind of shit.


Originality. Is. Good. Be original. Be thoughtful. But most importantly, make me think.