My NaNoWriMo Word Count Widgets!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Glasses and (more) Grammar

My eldest daughter had her first eye test this morning.  She was pretty nervous but she did amazingly well (the optician was impressed she could read the letters.  Apparently many kids of her age don't recognise capital letters?!).  Little Tootsie, her younger sister, also behaved brilliantly.  She sat patiently on my knee and didn't once ask "when can we go".  They both got a wee treat for being so good.  Big Toot picked out her first pair of glasses and can't wait for next week when we can go and pick them up.  They're pink Little Miss Sunshine frames.  You can't get plain old frames anymore - not like my first pair of glasses in 1987 (wow - that's a long time ago).

I decided to spend my writing time today consolidating all the information I've learnt from my two "how not to write" books.  Here are some common mistakes from "How Not to Write a Novel" by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark.  These are the ones I think I'm most guilty of....

  • Hamlet at the Deli.  Wherein the character's thoughts are transcribed to no purpose. 
    - In Hospital Corner terms, out comes the overly detailed description of a lunch Esme once had. 
  • Swann Song.  Wherein a character ignores the scene that is occurring to reminisce about one that is not.
    - In HC terms, complete rewrite of Chapter 8, where Marge spends most of her time in labour reminiscing about her relationship instead of screaming in agony.
  • The Whatchamacallit.  In which gaps in the author's research make themselves known.- I'm hoping to plug those gaps before the manuscript gets anywhere near an agent!
  • Sock Puppetry.  When all characters speak in the voice of the surrounding prose. - I've got to make sure Elizabeth sounds like a 6 year old.  A well-educated 6 year old is fine, but she's only read the dictionary, not swallowed it.
Other ones I hope to avoid include:
  • The Man of Average Height.  Where characters are described in generic terms.
  • The Underpants Gnomes.  Where crucial steps are omitted.
  • Asseverated the Man.  When the author thinks he's too good for the word "said".
  • "Hello!  I Am the Mommy!".  Where characters announce things they wouldn't.
I think the Underpants Gnomes is my favourite.....there are also such delights as "The Crepuscular Handbag" and "The Crepitating Parasol".  I really recommend it.

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