Goddamn my writerly Achille’s heels

What do you do when you’ve finished writing something like a novel, eh?

Well, I mean, after the obvious bit where you get pissed on whisky and give your mum a lap dance.

… what…

… is that just me…?

Well, whatever, we’ve all got our own parties to get on down to.

(I saw you with that fluorescent orangutan.

Don’t tell me you didn’t.

Facebook says you did.)

Anyway.

After the party, what happens then?

Well, the streamers get cleaned up, the balloons deflate and whither like used condoms in the corners of the room, and the left over ice cream melts into wet goblins that chew at the carpet and mess up your socks.

And then after that… after all that… you deal with the words. Again.

And then you panic a bit.

Because, hell, you can’t hide from the words you put together, and now they’re all laughing and pointing and honestly I think I might just have to go and tell on them because THEY ARE BEING MEAN.

But once that’s over, once you’re into full-on editing mode, what happens then?

  1. You realise it’s actually not that bad.
  2. You realise there’s still a whole load of shit that you’re doing really bad.

And so, in the spirit of things, I present to you my writerly Achilles heel(s):

  1. I am TERRIBLE at knowing when to use “past” or “passed.” Yeah, I know, it’s not that difficult. There’s rules and it’s only like it’s TWO words, my brain should be able to incorporate that information – but you can guarantee if I said “past” then use the other one.
  2. Capitalising (M)other and (F)ather. Again, there’s rules, but the more I think about it the more I might as well roll a dice and hope for the best.
  3. To start a new paragraph, or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of a short paragraph, but there’s plenty of times when my return-key-trigger-finger needs to step back for a minute and have a nice cucumber sandwich or something.

Now, this list doesn’t even begin to touch on all of my errors that get picked up in the copy-editing process, but they are some of the ones that drive my copy-editor crazy, because they’re the ones I do all the time.

One day, I might learn.

Perhaps I’ll train myself with treats and biscuits.

*Cracks open industrial packet of jaffa cakes*

But what are yours? Come on now don’t be shy – we’ve all got them (and you’ll probably only remind me of more that I’ve got).

What’s your editing nightmare, what’s the one thing that you know you’re never gonna get right?

Hit me up in the comments below.

Because it’s best not to get too hung up about the things we get wrong, because the things we get right are what makes writing magic.

Go weave some words regardless.

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

  2 comments for “Goddamn my writerly Achille’s heels

  1. J
    June 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Repetition (silly words, little words too close together); irrelevance; overwriting; stopping to research a new idea on the web. Too many n-dashes — and too many ellipses… And my fingers can’t spell…

    • June 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      I think I can add all those to my list! Especially getting distracted by researching (when I should just be getting the words down on paper)! :)

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