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?