Random Wednesday: Writing Pet Peeves

What would be my writing pet peeves?

This is actually a tough topic for me because I do believe there is a difference between pet peeves and bad writing. I see bad writing often, and I’m just as guilty for not catching grammatical mistakes, punctuation, spelling – you name it. Sometimes I feel my mind works faster than my hands can type and what seems like a logical thought reads like smash-your-face-against-the-keyboard nonsense.

Not too long ago I sat in on a presentation for writers and the topic was pet peeves, the guest speaker was an editor.

Some of my notes list:
-Don’t start a story with dialogue.
-Don’t have someone “reflect” upon themselves in a mirror. (Very cliche)
-Don’t start the story with someone waking up.
-As well, don’t end a chapter with someone going to sleep.

But here is where bad writing and pet peeves collide.

I’ve read many flash fiction pieces by my peers on this blog journey who start with dialogue and the story turns out really well. I don’t favor starting with dialogue in my own writing but I feel that’s my personal style choice, I would never say you can’t or it doesn’t work because you physical can start a story with dialogue and sometimes – it does work.

Not to mention, when timing is key to the story, it’s okay to start with someone waking up.

Groundhog Day: The entire movie is full scenes of someone waking up and ending with them falling asleep. Sure it’s a movie, not a book but, you see my point.
SPOILER: Gum in hair morning situation exacerbated by sweater falling in sink post skateboard slippage.

However, novel writing has a tendency to be formulaic. And this is where I see one of my pet peeves – following the formula only to have it result in bad writing.

At some point in the novel (usually about 75% of the way through) is going to be a “point of no return #2”, “the second pillar”, a point when the novel is at risk of ending on a limp note so you have to spice it up…

Good writing: This leaves you in suspense, driven to finish the book because how on earth is this going to be resolved?!

Bad writing: (this really happened in a book I read) “Let’s kill the child of the main character though the child served no purpose in the plot and barely had any character development, and then everyone just moves on with the lives afterward – the end.”

Formulas are okay but don’t neglect the story.

Remember, we’re writers, the whole point is to tell the story.

Speaking of story tellers, visit some of my favorites and their take on pet peeves:

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Kayleigh Jones

Kellie St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Jessica Jarman



7 thoughts on “Random Wednesday: Writing Pet Peeves

  1. Ahhhhhhhh! I hate when there’s supposed to be some Big Shocking Event and you feel nothing because the author didn’t write the characters well enough to make you care. Boo.

    Nice post!


  2. Killing for shock factor or because you can’t think of anything else.. yeah, that irks me to no end. And I have to laugh. I start many, if not all, my flash fictions and a lot of novels with dialogue. It’s like my fave… lol.


  3. I start a lot of my pieces with dialogue. 🙂 I never think about it. And you’re right, it’s a preference and neither right nor wrong. The whole staring at the reflection while description is a major NO!!!! for me too. I wouldn’t do it and I doubt anyone else does either.


  4. As a reader – in my humble opinion if it is worth a damn – there is no one way to write a good story. Whatever works for the author writing the story is the way to go. I have been enthralled with the waking from a dream, beginning with dialog, as well as the hot sex and/or murder in the first chapter. As long as it is a well written story, (and yes I do have issues with poorly proofed books) I can enjoy it. Soooo, keep writing the way that works for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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