I have to say...I really hate it when my blog title is a little too apt. "Queen" of Procrastination? Heck! I've been the "Universal, Trans-dimensional, Supreme Ruler" of Procrastination lately! My bad... and my apologies to all my wonderful followers. My goal is to get back on track with consistent posting ASAP!
Needless to say, when I stumbled across this article in Writer's Digest, I wasn't very happy that I identified a little too much with #1...(in a more literal sense than what they actually meant, but still...)
I give you my recap of The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing by Zachary Petit:
#1: Laziness. (You see? :)) The contributing author of this deadly sin, David Hewson, is actually talking about academic laziness. You know - coming up with the same story over and over and over again, but just giving it a minor face lift? (don't do that, btw...) But, the literal laziness is kind of death to a story, too. Trust me...I know. It's far too easy to slip into a do-nothing rut and let your story gather dust.
#2: Trying to be a good student. Contributing author, Lisa Gardner, said that research for a novel is essential. Of course it is! However, what you do with that research is another matter. Regurgitating it on a page just isn't going to work. Use what you've learned artfully, and don't forget you're writing to entertain and move your story forward.
#3: Marching Down the Outline. Now, for me and my fellow pantsers - this one's not so much a problem. But, for you uber organized outliners out there - take note: Contributing author, John Sandford, said that sticking too closely to your outline may stifle your story. Just be aware of the problems this could create and don't be resistant to changes as needed.
#4: Denying Jealousy. Author M.J. Rose said that aspiring writers are often jealous of successful, published authors. (Who, me??) Well...OK. Yes. When I first heard about J.K. Rowling's success, I thought - "Seriously? What's so neat about Harry Potter?!" And then I read the books. The point is, it's OK to feel jealous. Just don't bottle it up and let it hinder your own creative efforts. Embrace your jealousy and let it fuel your way through writing your own bestseller!! Who knows, J.K. might be a little jealous of you/me someday... :)
#5: Focusing too heavily on the business. Again from Sandford, he warns that getting lost in the trappings of business and promotion could hinder you from actually writing novels. The business of writing is important to learn and to know - but, it will do you no good if you don't have books to use it on.
#6: Not reading books. Again from Rose, this just might be the deadliest sin of all! You absolutely MUST read books in the genre you write. No questions, no excuses. Just do it! Read, read, read.
#7: Imitation. Hewson says it well - There is a difference between imitating a book and being influenced by a book. (So, now I'm a little worried about my story "Mary Cotter", about a teen witch who flies off on a shiny red plane to the Blogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry...dangit!) But, seriously...aside from the whole tacky factor of imitating another writer's work? There is the part about - PEOPLE WILL KNOW!! So just don't do it. If you love a particular book - look at why you love this book. What works? How could your own unique story elements work the same way? Remember - imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.
So - tell me. Are you a sinner? :) Happy writing out there today!! And for realz this time...Find the Story Friday on the 15th!!