1. When I'm writing by hand and get a cramp.
BECAUSE NOTHING SHOULD COME BETWEEN ME AND THIS STORY IDEA. It always happens when I'm on a roll. Always. And then I rest my hand, shake it out, rub it, and the cramp goes away. I start writing again and five seconds later....
In case you hadn't noticed, it makes me mad. And I'm very strongly right-handed, so I can't switch hands. I suppose I could learn how to write with my feet...or my teeth...but in the meantime I'll use a laptop whenever I can.
2. When I'm doing well keeping up my word count and then....nothing.
This happens to me every time I try any kind of NaNoWriMo event. In fact, my stats from this April reflected that. Basically I'll write really steadily on something for a week or so, and then for the next two there will be nothing coming out of my brain. This isn't because I forget about my story, but because I have no desire to write anything, despite knowing I have too. Even when I'm not tracking my word count, I write in spurts.
What makes this a frustrating problem is that I know once I start writing I could write two or three thousand words in one sitting. I just have to get started, and the first page is always torture, and I feel like I'm writing while I'm half asleep.
|Real footage of me trying to write after taking a break.|
3. That ONE FRIEND who points out EVERY SINGLE TIME I USE THE PASSIVE VOICE.
IT IS A ROUGH DRAFT, FAITH! I KNOW YOU DON'T LIKE PASSIVE VOICE! I DON'T REALLY CARE! SOMETIMES I USE IT! SUE ME!
4. When what I'm writing on changes my writing voice.
I usually write on my laptop, but I also use a typewriter or a notebook. The only problem is, I sound different with each thing I use. When I'm writing by hand, it sounds flat and more like I'm recording a series of events with no emotion than writing a story. When I'm using the typewriter, I take on a more formal and old-fashioned voice. I can't really describe my laptop voice, although it's my favorite, which is why I use it the most.
As a result, I can't easily write the same story on different mediums, and I can't usually type up what I've written on paper and continue on my laptop. I have to rewrite it in a different style. I'm working on this, though, because it would be really nice to have a universal sound.
5. When my characters all morph into the same person.
This one makes me so mad. I have a hard time writing faults into my characters, so they all eventually end up morphing into the same gentle, understanding, compassionate, and happy person. They can always see every side of a problem and willingly talk through a problem and listen to other people's opinions. They always respect different points of view, and take the time to help other characters who have it rough.
So basically all my characters are perfect angels and IT IS SO VERY VERY VERY FRUSTRATING. There's only one character who's really avoided this, and that's mostly because he's only about as deep as his sarcasm. I tell myself I'll fix the others in the second draft, and his supporting character, who's morphing into Mr. Sweet Nice Guy, is going to turn back into Mr. Bored Posh Sloth as I write, which is going to result in a very confusing character for my poor friends who are reading my first draft. Thankfully, those friends are REALLY GOOD at writing flaws into their characters, and give me advice when I need it.
6. When my story brings out my dark side.
I'm not a bad person. I don't want to kill people, I don't betray my friends, I don't do a lot of bad things in general. But when I'm writing a story where bad things happen, like stabbings and murders and death and lies and betrayal, that little part of me wakes up and says "BUT WOULD'T IT BE SO COOL IF THIS PERSON ACTUALLY HAD TO KILL THIS INNOCENT CHILD THAT WOULD JUST RIP EVERYONE TO SHREDS AND THEN THEY'D HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES". Or maybe "WHAT IF SOMEONE BECAME DEATH, Y'ALL, THAT WOULD BE COOL!" I'm not a psychopath, guys. I'm a decent human being. But I'm also a writer. I have no problem killing off characters, torturing those characters, or making those characters do dark and murderous things for the sake of moving the plot forward, but when I'm done writing I'll bake you cookies.
So yeah. That's a mild problem that I'm pretty sure every writer experiences.
7. When I have 500 loose ends and plot holes in my story but can't be bothered to correct them.
How will James close the gate and kill the alien without killing any humans? But then how will he have the guilt of letting someone die follow him around for the rest of his life? What if he dies? But how then will he be the narrator for the end of the story, because I don't want to switch to Orion's voice. But it would be so saaaaaad if I switched to Orion's voice. He would be so beautifully saaaaaad if his best friend died (what did I say about a dark side??). BUT JAMES CLOSES THE STORY!!?!??
Also there's the problem of how on earth Andy knows about the alien if that alien's the only one who got through the crack? Why did that alien choose to take over a four year old girl? Why is Andy dead? That was unintentional. How has Phoebe's family not noticed that an alien is taking over her body?
WHERE ARE HER PARENTS AND WHY ARE THEY NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR CHILD?????????
"But," you say, "this is YOUR story, isn't it? Aren't your readers the ones who should be asking the questions?"
Obviously I should wait until I get to the part of the story with the problem to actually fix the problem.
8. When I get a fantastic story idea, but it doesn't go anywhere.
This might be because I don't plan things out. I mean, why would I want to do that???? But seriously, 99.9999999999999999999%* of the time I get a brilliant idea for a story, it dies within the first two chapters. Or it doesn't even get a full chapter. It just sort of....stews....in it's own failed good idea-ness. And then I think, "oh, I'll get back to this later".
*not actual math
9. When someone asks me to explain a story to them.
"So there's this guy, but I can't remember his name so I'll call him Jack, and there's this girl I haven't named yet, and they go off to do this thing...I think. They might not. But anyway there's this guy I can't remember the name of and this girl and they do this thing but the thing doesn't work so they die? And then their ghosts rise from the grave and plot something but they're not actually ghosts, there's like this sciencey thing that retains their consciousness in the air so they seem like ghosts. So anyway the girl and the guy do this thing and it doesn't work so they die and become ghosts who aren't actually ghosts and they make this plot to do this other thing, but then they meet this kid who is named Jeremy and Jeremy thinks they're ghosts and wants them to help him clean his room but they aren't actually ghosts so they can't because they can't move things they can just think and talk but I haven't worked that bit out yet. So anyway there's this sciencey thing that happens and Jeremy dies and is a not-a-ghost too and then they kill the president. It's cool, I promise."
10. Finding the perfect name for my characters.
Because no name is absolutely perfect. This takes me FOREVER. I scroll through name after name after name after name, search all kinds of meanings (because OBVIOUSLY that is important even though it's never going to come up ever at all), sort through the ones that don't sound like the character's personality (because gentle people should have gentle names and cool mysterious assassins must have cool mysterious assassin names. There's a law about that somewhere), and when I finally find a name I sort of like, ONE OF MY FRIENDS HAS ALREADY USED IT BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY HAVE.
For example, Engilram. AMAZING AND PERFECT NAME FOR MY CHARACTER.
One of my friends had used it but didn't CALL her character Engilram. She called him Eagle. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW! AND BY THE WAY ENGILRAM MEANS RAVEN SO WHY YOU WOULD CALL HIM EAGLE IS BEYOND ME. I GUESS IT'S KIND OF A COOL NICKNAME BUT ALSO NAME MEANINGS ARE IMPORTANT TO ME HAVE YOU NOT NOTICED AT THIS POINT.
And then I worry about my precious literary children not liking the names given to them, how I'm going to change their names to work in a different timeline or universe, and who's going to give them what nicknames. AND IF I EVEN LIKE THE NICKNAMES.
There's also what the names remind me of. If I know about a character in another book or movie or someone in real life who has a certain name, and I don't like that character or person, I obviously can't name my character after them. Or if a name reminds me of a food. I can't give people names that remind me of food.
The biggest one though?
WHAT IF MY READERS PRONOUNCE IT WRONG??????
And that's all! 10 things that really annoy me as a writer. Do these apply to you? Is there something else that annoys you more? Let me know in the comments!