Let’s be honest, there’s always one area we all dread writing. Maybe it’s setting, maybe it’s describing outfits, maybe it’s hair color. Here, the Chicks share their writing bugaboos…
If you read our Friday Fun Facts post, then you know I hate writing period. But if I had to choose just one thing particular, I’d have to say I hate describing locations, whether it be a town or house. I tend to get notes like, “I have no clue what this place looks like?” My response is normally, “Yeah, and?” Then I’ll go back and force myself to add a detail then send it back to them with a passive aggressive note along the lines of “I said it has red walls. Happy now?????” There are some writers who are just simply amazing at setting a scene, so vividly that you feel like you’re there. (At least I assume they are amazing, I also tend to skim those parts of books. ) I’m just not one of them.
Lisa Q. Mathews
I hate to write those pesky find-the-body scenes. My sleuths are always shocked and dismayed when they encounter yet another corpse. But the first thing they have to do is make sure the victim is actually deceased. That means zooming in on the body for a closer look (ugh), checking for a (nonexistent) pulse, and often administering CPR, in hopes of a miraculous resuscitation. But of course they—and the reader—already know the person is All the Way Dead. My younger sleuth, a lifeguard (well, sort of—she just needs to get around to that recertification), is proficient in CPR. Fortunately, she can use a chest-compressions-only version now, no mouth-to-mouth. This is a great relief to Summer, because some of the victims were less than attractive even when they were breathing. The other rules of the murder road: Call 911 and Do Not Disturb the Crime Scene. But this is an intrepid sleuth team, so they’re going to check stuff out—until the first responders arrive and the cops start interviewing them as witnesses. Or, in some cases, potential suspects. Then it’s smooth sailing—for me, the writer, I mean. Not necessarily my sleuths!
I HATE writing about clothing. I find it enormously difficult to describe what people are wearing in a creative way. I know it’s important because it really helps paint a picture of a character. Some writers, like my friend and fellow mystery author, Diane Vallere, are amazing at this. She can bring an outfit to life like it’s a photo in Vogue. Me? Not so much. I literally wrote in one description, “she changed from one pair of jean shorts into another pair of jean shorts.” Okay, I’m paraphrasing. But you’d be surprised by how little. Seriously. That’s only a few words away from what I actually wrote. I’m lucky in that my current protagonist practically lives in jeans and tee shirts. But God help me if I ever create a character who’s a fashionista. By the way, as I write this, I’m wearing black men’s pajama bottoms. As pants. To work.
“Her raven hair was twisted into a neat chignon.” No, wait. “Her blond pixie cut swooped attractively across her large green eyes.” Hmmm, maybe. “Her red curls sprung from the side of her head like an arboreal effusion.” It’s not that I hate writing descriptions of people; I just don’t ever do it. Problem solved! I used to think that I was just bad at it, but after a lot of soul searching brought on by editorial comments, I’ve decided it’s because I write in a very close first person—and I don’t know about you, but I never sit around thinking things like, “Hmmm, I need to buy some conditioner for my short, reddish hair,” or say, “I think I have an eyelash in my left eye, which, by the way, is hazel, just like my right.” However, since I’ve heard people tend to like that sort of thing, I’m working on finding creative ways to work it in—without resorting to the old “I looked in the mirror” trick.
So now that we’ve ‘fessed up about our deepest, darkest writing secret, it’s your turn! What do you hate to write? Leave us a comment below…
4 thoughts on “I totally hate to write…”
Ok, I have one! I write police procedural, and I hate writing scenes at police headquarters. All of my writing momentum grinds to a halt the moment I think I need to “check-in” with the rest of the detectives.
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That would be a bugaboo for me, too, I’m sure–I’m not too wild about debriefing exchanges between my amateur sleuths and the cops. (Pretty one-sided!)
It’s hard not to make them redundant and routine to the point of boring. But I can’t always just skip them either.
OMG, I am totally with you, Kate! That’s one reason I made up a small town. I can create my own dysfunctional police dept. I live in fear of creating a real one.