Writing ruined reading

I’m trying to become a writer. Fiction novels and short stories.

I wrote a novel last summer and the process was cathartic. But ruinous.

What happened was that although my story held merit, the writing itself was sophomoric — as one might expect given my limited training. So, I endeavored to teach myself how to write; to be come a critical editor of my own work; to evaluate writing — of all sources and authors.

And now that’s all I can do. When I read ANYTHING — I’m an editor. I don’t get taken up by the story, I don’t get attached to the characters, I critique everything I read.

And it sucks.

Not the writing, although, yeah much of what I read needs serious editing (including my own work). No, what sucks is that my desire to become a writer has warped my ability to be a reader.

Before all this, I used to pickup and read novels all the time. I never really evaluated them and their writing styles. I could immerse myself into those stories. Lose myself.

Now, all I do is analyze.

DO NOT TELL — SHOW us how she cried, sat, danced, ate, slept…

Use of passive vs active voice (over use of the word ‘was’ or ‘were’ or ‘is’).

Use of flag words: very, quite, always, suddenly, quickly, and all the tiny obvious verbs (get, got, do, did, put, walked, went, gone, run, ran, see, saw, crossed, turned)

Adverbs — use sparingly (ha!).

A funny list to the cause:

1 Avoid alliteration always.
2 Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3 The passive voice is to be avoided.
4 Avoid cliches like the plague. They’re old hat.
5 It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
6 Writers should never generalize.
Seven Be consistent.
8 Don’t use more words than necessary. It’s highly superfluous.
9 Be more or less specific.
10 Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
I’ve become a pretty good critic. But at the expense of enjoying my precious story time reads. And I don’t know if I can ever undo the damage.

4 thoughts on “Writing ruined reading

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