Friday, January 09, 2015

Friday Forays in Fiction: Writer Tics



As part of the prep for my NaNo novel last September, I started streaming Star Trek episodes on Netflix and Amazon.  I started with Enterprise as I wanted to watch in the order of the story's timeline.  I'm now in the last half of the final season of Voyager.

The point was to prime my consciousness with as much of the info as possible as well as with the immediacy of immersion so that I could begin to think with my character's mind.  She was a dedicated obsessive fan(atical), teen who know all the episodes of all the series, including the animated, as well as all the movies by heart.  Even some of the novels.  She was a walking encyclopedia of Star Trek trivia, hung out in online fan forums, played Star Trek RPG, wrote fan-fic and wore costumes she made to school.

I intended to make this post mostly about that and about the experience of rewatching all of those episodes while writing a character who was an over-the-top exaggeration of me as a teen.

Except that all I had was the three seasons of the original Star Trek reruns at the whim of syndication and a mom who thot ST was sacrilegious , a mail-order fan-club offering only a few black and white autographed photos with one way, one time communication for $$ and the James Blish short stories based on the episodes.  While Nova Jayne Travers can stream at her whim all 5 series (or 6 counting the animated one) and a dozen movies, the World Wide Web, conventions, comic books, RPG games, interactive fan-fic, and fanclubs with video chat, and social media where actors, writers, directors, and producers actually interact with the fans.

Because I'd set out to watch with an eye to the stories' influence on the pyche of a young girl, I paid close attention (for the first time oddly) to all of the female characters throughout.

I planed to go into that here a bit too so I headed over to YouTube to look for some clips that showcased the women but I ran into this one instead and decided to save all of that serious sociological contemplation for a later post when there are more light bulbs on in my brain and instead to pose some questions:

  1. Do you have any writer tics with the potential to annoy your readers?
  2. Could you trust yourself to spot them?
  3. Do you ever spot them in other author's works?
  4. If so, is your annoyance ever enough to spoil the story?
  5. Enough to make you give up on the story? On the author?
My answers:
  1. I'm not sure.  I'll have to keep an eye and ear out when I start rereading my stuff again.  Tho it has been pointed out to me by more than one reader that I overuse punctuation which I suppose would qualify as a tic.
  2. Not with confidence.
  3. Yes
  4. Sometimes
  5. Not so far.  That I'm aware of.  At least not with stories and authors that have won my heart.  But it is possible it played a role in stories or authors I gave up on early.  I will have to start paying attention to what turns me away from them from now on and not always assume it is my own inadequacies as a reader when I can't finish a story or when I turn away from a second helping of a new author.

    I know I would never give up on Star Trek.  Though I now wish I'd watched the final 12 episodes of Voyager before encountering this vid.  It is occasionally breaking me out of the dreamstate stories put me into.  A couple of times I had to pause until I could get a grip.  That's probably because by the midpoint of this vid I could not keep from snorting and giggling and seeing the clips in situ only an hour or two later triggered the same reaction.  I'm hoping that a good night's sleep will fix that.

But going forward I will never, ever, ever be able to use the phrase, some kind of or any of its variations or permutations in my writing or conversation with a straight face.

Not sure that I ever did anyway because my high school typing teacher had a fanatical distaste of the phrase kind of and did a pretty good job of breaking us of it use.


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