Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Avoiding Quicksand


Meme shared from Weird Hollywood (FB), originally created by John Mulaney


Wasn’t that the truth? If you recall much of anything from 1970s / 1980s TV, how often did quicksand threaten our favorite characters? Somebody was sinking at least once a week. Although I can’t say what most endangers today’s characters (since I don’t watch much episodic TV), this image made me think of writing. Back in the day, ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ when ‘the Butler did it’. I’m not how those phrases originated and became cliché, but any writer sticking to old-time devices, such as opening with the weather, a wedding, or a funeral, should beware! Agents and/or edits might toss that manuscript into the Reject pile, publishing’s version of quicksand. Other no-no’s include an overuse of adjectives and adverbs, too much description (when it’s not vital to moving the plot/characters forward), and subplots that don’t contribute to the character arc or main plot. At a recent monthly meeting, we SiCCOs also learned storylines to currently avoid are sex trafficking and drug lords/mob wars. Some might argue that the vampire, whether sparkling or simply blood sucking, has had his day, along with chick-lit tales. That’s not to say you should burn your story if it involves anything mentioned above. All you have to do is strong-arm your manuscript, Steve Austin-style pretty please, out of that quicksand and give it new life. Sure, you might have to hose it down after, give it a day or two to let the trauma subside, but clean that baby up and go for it!

#amwriting #amediting #writinggoals #writerlife