How many times have you wondered, as a writer, if you're doing it wrong?
The nice thing about this scenario is that someone was there to tell him (besides his own kids, of course) that he was doing it wrong. She even told him the right way to do it.
Well, writing is an art form. There's no right or wrong way to do it. Right? Maybe. But there are some pitfalls to watch out for. Agent Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency posted a blog entitled, Culprit: Writing Mechanics. In this piece she tells us of her "Agent Reads The Slush Pile" workshop, where she basically pretends she's at the office, going over the opening two pages of a submission. During the actual workshop someone else reads it aloud, and she speaks up and tells them to "stop" at the point where she would not continue, and then tells them why.
She goes on to say that 99% of what she sees in these workshops is not ready for an agent to read. (Ouch!) When asked if her view was subjective, she allowed for that on some level, but said in these cases, the offenders were universal. She then listed the Top Ten Culprits. Want to know what they are? You're in the right place.
1. Telling instead of showing.
2. Including unnecessary back story.
3. Lose sentence structure that could easily be tightened
4. The use of passive sentence construction.
5. Awkward introduction of character appearance.
6. Awkward descriptions/overly flowery language to depict.
7. Starting the story in the wrong place.
8. Not quite nailing voice in the opening.
9. Dialog that didn’t quite work as hard as it should.
10. A lack of scene tension even if the opening was suppose to be dramatic.
This is one of those blog posts I will go back to time and time again. I hear the list of offenders rambling in my head as I review my work, asking myself one simple question: "Am I doing it wrong?"
Click here to read Kristen Nelson's full post on Culprits: Writing Mechanics. If you'd like to view her blog, go to http://pubrants.blogspot.com/
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