Last week I blogged about the traits of a great writer and this week my post is about lazy writing.
Lazy writing isn't always obvious, and can be hard to spot when you're in the throes of a manuscript, but the good news is most often it's easy to put right.
I have several favourite writers in my favourite genre of chick lit, but I have read several books by these authors which have been below par. I am left wondering why the books are mediocre when these writers are capable of so much more. Sometimes I think that maybe these writers are past their best and have now written too many books. Their newer work is often a rehash of their earlier work, and more often than not, I end up putting the book down.
So, how can you avoid lazy writing?
When I read a book repeated words and phrases leap out at me like a hologram. I once counted the same word seven times on the same page. And this book was penned by a best selling author who has made films out of their books. Word repetition is tedious and sends me straight to sleep. It smacks of lack of imagination; it's as though the writer can't be bothered thinking up different words. Writing shouldn't be like that. Writing should be fun and not a chore, and if the writer can't be bothered about thinking up new words, why should the reader be bothered to finish the book?
So when you've finished your manuscript get a red pen and make note of the words you love to repeat.
Also, I think writers need to be aware of giving their characters certain traits and then using the same trait throughout the story. Does your protagonist always snort while laughing or always scratch their head when confused? If they do, mix it up a little and make it fun for both you and your reader.
Do you always start each chapter describing the same weather conditions? Maybe your characters have the same place in certain scenes. Are they constantly stood by the kitchen window, or do they move around the room?
It's easy to get lost in the moment when you're writing. I do it all the time. But it's crucial to be aware of these things so you have a chance to fix them before you bore your readers to death.