Bad words for authors

There are some words that authors hate, that make them cringe, or that are just plain damaging to our creativity. These words should be removed from our dictionaries – or just completely redefined. Here are some of those words…in alphabetical order, of course!

Cubicle
Our characters may live in cubicles at their jobs, but our minds don’t live in one, and neither should we. When we do sit in a cubicle, it’s usually right in the middle of a project when our minds start to roam and a scene comes to us. But we can’t escape the confines of this little creativity-stifling box…and we have 7 hours and 58 minutes until we can go sit in traffic for an hour, go home and make dinner for 30 minutes, eat for 5 minutes, talk about “our day” for 20 minutes, get the kids ready for bed for an hour, spend time with the spouse watching a television show we really don’t care about for another hour, then we can turn on the computer when the spouse starts snoring. Only then are we free to work on the scene we thought of an eternity ago…but we’ve forgotten what scene—and even what book—we were working on, all because of our cubicle.

Interruptions
They only seem to come when we’re on a roll. Does this scene sound familiar?

Frantic typing. “This is the best scene I’ve ever written! I’ve had weeks of writer’s block, but now I’m free! If only I can get to the end of this scene before—”

“Honey!” the spouse calls from the other room. “You’ve got to come see this squirrel that’s sitting on the porch doing absolutely nothing noteworthy!”

Typing gets faster. “Got. To. Hurry. Before—”

Door opens. “Why aren’t you answering me? You can put down your book for two seconds and come look at this squirrel that looks the same as every other squirrel you’ve ever seen!”

Lots of angry muttering under the breath. Writer’s block comes back full-force. Damn squirrel.

Query
Rejection almost seems to be synonymous with the word “query.” We spend months working on perfecting our book, only to spend another month writing a one page letter under 250 words…because although we know our book inside out, we can’t seem to capture it in a few paragraphs. Then we send it off, only to wait 4-8 agonizing weeks to hear back from one agent (since they don’t accept multiple submissions). I have a much better idea. When we finish our masterpiece, agents should telepathically know about our book and they should have to query us.

Reviews
You’ve written the most amazing book ever, but not everyone is going to think that. Then you get a 1 star review that makes absolutely no sense. They’ve put things in there that don’t even relate to your book, like what they ate for breakfast, and you’re wondering if they really even read it. But…you’re stuck with the review forever and ever, a blight on your career, just because someone had a bad day and took it out on you.

Rules
Who cares if the road to hell is paved with adverbs? It’s also paved with commas, he said/she said, and run-on sentences. My writing buddy, Melissa Rose, would add colons and semicolons to that list. In fact, the road to hell is very well-paved, and that’s only because we concern ourselves more with the rules than with writing a story. Writing should come first, then the rules can drive through like a street cleaner.

Typos
We don’t create typos when we write. Little gnomes live in our computers (or in our notebooks), come out at night, and go to work on our manuscripts. The more typos they create, the more powerful they become, and all of them are vying for that “head gnome” job that just opened up…and that’s why our books have so many typos when we wake up in the morning.

Writer’s Block
The wall that goes up in the midst of our creativity, that not only prevents us from moving forward, but sucks every thought from our mind, feeding off of us like a parasitic demon.


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