Tuesday, November 9, 2010

10 Writing Pests


Scenus Repeatus: This animal is known for his excellent camouflage abilities.

Plotus Circulus: Often disguised with whimsey and wit, this creature can trick the writer into believing the plot is moving forward when in reality it's moving in a gigantic circle.

Backstory Dumpus: Although usually inhabiting the beginning of a manuscript, this rouge can also make his home anywhere the plot is lacking in forward motion.

Character Quirkus: A useful animal, although they can tend to overbreed. Control your population.

Namus Familiarus: The writer will know this pest has invaded their manuscript when they discover several characters named with similar-sounding names, or names beginning with the same letter.

Verbus Repeatus: A relation of Scenus Repeatus, this creature forces characters to give the same reactions to situations. A sign of their presence may be many characters smiling, shrugging or opening their eyes widely.

Endus Ubruptus: This trickster burrows into manuscripts of writers eager to wrap up plots using as few words as possible.

Coincidenceus Multiplus: Most often found in the last one third of manuscripts, the presence of this creature can destroy the reality of the manuscript. A close relation to Endus Ubruptus.

Scenus Nonpurposeus: A warm, purring personality; this animal is familiar to many writers who focus more on word counts and less on plot or character development.

Character Perfectus: This preening egomaniac tends to curl around the neck of a protagonist (especially in mysteries). It can be avoided by adding flaws or wrong decisions.





100 comments:

  1. Elspeth - Oh, you are so right! Those nasty pests do invade our work if we're not on the lookout for them. In fact, I've just done a major revision of my WIP in part because of the Namus Familiarus pest. No fun at all, but the story's better now. And then there's Eventus Improbabilius, which tricks the author into including a completely impossible event to "patch up" a rough spot in the story. The trouble is those critters make a story look as though it holds together when it doesn't. Watch out!

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  2. Margot; I'm confident you quickly recognize and rid your manuscript of these troublesome pests and thanks for adding to the list. You're absolutely right,

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  3. I'm dealing with an invasion of Tempus fidgetus where characters aren't on the page together and time often moves in strange directions.

    Terry
    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

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  4. Terry; How annoying for you! Perhaps a heavy sprinkling of timelines will help you with your infestation.

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  5. They sound so cute when put this way. Too bad they can get ugly.

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  6. Mary; That's the secret of their success. They look all cute and cuddly but once they've settled in they show their fangs.

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  7. Very funny. I like the sharpness of the critique here! Satire at its best.

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  8. I think I've been invaded by all of these at one time or another. Fun list.

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  9. Carol; I'm pleased you liked it. I think most of us have found one or more nesting in our manuscripts!

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  10. Any good pest control remedies? :) I could use some!

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  11. The pest that gets to me the most is the Distractus Maximus. He provides all sorts of shiny things -- read as "new and exciting ideas" -- that detract me from finishing what I was working on. Distractus is very clever and never lacks for brand new, sparkly things to take away my focus.

    I'm learning to conquer him, though, by selecting a few projects and sticking solely with them until they are done. In the meantime, I'm free to jot down -- but not work on -- any ideas that come up. :)

    (Loved the post! I'm certainly going to be mindful of these pests in my writing...)

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  12. Elizabeth; I find a cold, distant, unemotional look usually discovers and destroys said beasties. Thanks for the idea about a future post!

    JM; I'm well acquainted with that particular pest; I find he's usually tamed by writing down even one or two sentences. However: Constant Vigilance is necessary!

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  13. Hilarious. And oh-so-important reminders.

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  14. This is an awesome list of creatures to watch out for in any given writing project!

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  15. These are delightful! (and very helpful)

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  16. What a fun way to jog authors into examining their writing.

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