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I’m finally getting through the last of my beta comments on my soon to be published mystery novel.  It has been so wonderful at the same time it’s been unbelievably hard.  Yet, the final set of comments were quite the most instructive.  The first few sets, while really incredibly valuable, mostly addressed spelling, grammar and those ‘well, duh’ spots, where I lost the plot, or made little (or not so little) mistakes.  All important stuff that I could not have lived without.  The final beta reader, however, honed in on my ‘bad writer habits’.  Trust me, when you’re confronted with those nasty things, there is a moment where you think, ‘oh dear heavens, I totally suck’.

After that initial reaction, though, you become eternally grateful to that beta reader for teaching you an invaluable lesson.

What, you may ask, are my nasty little bad writer habits? The biggest one is beginning sentences (sometimes five and six a page) with a conjunction.  Page after page after page.  You know those words.  And.  But.  Well.  So.  I even caught myself doing it in this post and had to go back through it and change them all (See, SW? I’m making progress!). 

Then there are the deadly “ings” – the overuse of “ing” words.  Dozens of those to plow through.  Or more.  I’m too scared to count them right now.

The prospect of going through every page in my WIP to find them and, in most cases, fix them, is daunting indeed.  Makes me want to buy a ginormous (jeez, that word made it through spell check… when did that become a real word?) bag of cheesy popcorn and eat the whole thing in one sitting. GAH!!!!!!!

I gave myself today off.  Tomorrow, however, is another day.  I will be using my trusty word processor’s “find” function to its maximum capacity – burning through the literary equivalent of dilithium crystals.  I hope the word engines can take it.  I may even have to call Scotty in Engineering for ‘more power’!  (Sorry, yes, I know, I had to reach for that one.)

What are your bad writer habits?  Is there a word or set of words you have to excise from your writing during revision?  Or are you the sort who can catch them as you write?  I’d love to hear about your bad writer habits – I’m sure I can learn from them.  Plus, it serves the purpose of making me feel not quite so incompetent!

Illegitimi non carborundum!