Author Month: The Hardest Habit to Break

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We were all new authors at some point.  Not that we weren’t writing before for school or other reasons.  It’s just that there was a point where we decided to take the trade seriously and refine our abilities.  Of course, this is usually after we’ve developed some terrible habits that nobody would correct in every day life.  It is funny how we have to be grammatically correct when writing, but not really when speaking.  This is why dialogue can be a nightmare with editing.

I’ve had some doozies in my life.  Overusing the word ‘just’ or ‘only’.  Not knowing any dialogue tags other than ‘says’, ‘asks’, and ‘exclaims’.  Having no idea how to use commas until after college.  All of these pale in comparison to the first habit, which is what led to a major aspect of my style.

In high school, I started trying to write detailed stories.  The problem was that I couldn’t keep a story’s tense straight if my life depended on it.  The meme above is all about me at age 15.  I’d start a sentence with past and end it with present.  Future would show up randomly in a paragraph.  I was all over the map and my writing teacher finally had me stay late after school to have a talk.  This is when I was shown the differences between the tenses and told to pick one.  I went with present because the images I was explaining on the page were going on in my head in real time.  Had no idea present tense stories were so rare. Of course, nobody told me until I published ‘Beginning of a Hero‘.

I still make these mistakes at times, but I’m able to catch it.  So, what was the worst habit you had to overcome as an author?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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24 Responses to Author Month: The Hardest Habit to Break

  1. My worst habit is spelling. When I was in grade school, some idiot decided to drop phonetics and go to memorization. Being poor at memorization, I lost out. I cannot “sound out ” words phonetically to decipher spelling options. It wasn’t until the advent of spell check that I could produce error-free documents.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. L. Marie says:

    Hard to say what the worse one is since I still have some of these habits. (Like the word just, though others have told me about this before and I have yet to break the habit.) One bad habit I have, besides the avoidance of writing due to discouragement, is to state an action out of sequence. For example, I’ll write a sentence showing a character’s reaction. In the next sentence, I’ll write the action that caused the reaction. “Susan screeched. The cat sunk her claws into Susan’s leg.” I wish I were kidding.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Be sure to share YOUR worst writing habits with, Charles 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my pet hates is mixed tense, lols 😂. My crutch words, which I have to watch out for every time, are ‘just’ and ‘only’. You’d think I’d have learnt by now! Great post, Charles 💕🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I recently read my first novel and was appalled by all the instances of the word “that.” Quite often, it can be omitted. The book could have been several hundred words shorter!


  6. I overuse “that” and have to watch out for it. Took me a long time to reduce the dialog tags, too.


  7. I find that I continue giving the same background information at least until 3/4 of the way in. So during revisions, I have to take out all but the first one, and trust my readers to remember what I’ve already told them. Or, if I think they need to be reminded, I find a different way to give that info.


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