Criminal Writerly Habits

Do I have criminal habits?

I have some habits that would be considered criminal in writer’s court, punishable by not getting as much writing done as I think I should. Here are the top 5, in reverse order. Try not to be too shocked.

5. Bitching about promotion. I hate it. We all hate it (except for Kelli, but I forgive her because she’s so darn nice when I complain about it). So, maybe I could just shut up about it. Enough said.

4. Remembering only the bad reviews. I got almost uniformly great reviews for A TRACE OF SMOKE, including starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal. Do I remember quotes from them? No. But I can recite all the damning bits from the ‘mixed’ New York Times review. Obviously, this is a trend that must be reversed. I must set about memorizing the good reviews and blurbs and become positively insufferable.

3. Not backing things up. I do back up my work daily. But not my iPhone. Not when I’m traveling. This one ranks so high because a couple of gallons of the Chesapeake Bay killed my iPhone with all my pictures from my New York tour on it. I should have known better. I did know better. And I got punished for it. So, now I back up daily. If I remember.

2. Over-researching. I write historical mysteries, so I have to do a lot of research. But I overdo it because it’s just plain fascinating. I find out tons of things I don’t really need to know to finish the book. For example, I have a scene with Hitler in it in A NIGHT OF LONG KNIVES. I read tons of diary entries of people who were at that event, bits from the Nuremberg trial, historical analyses, etc. I compiled them all and picked out what I needed for my scene. That should have been enough. But I kept going. I call it the “what would Hitler smoke?” syndrome. He’s not smoking in the scene, so I don’t need to know it. But I do. In fact, that’s a trick question. Hitler was a nonsmoker. (hey, I did get to use that bit of research somewhere!)

1. Spending too much time on the Internet. Sure, I can pretend that some of it’s promotion and some of it even is, but I think I’d get a lot more done if I moved to a remote island with no Internet connectivity. Wait, I do live on a remote island. If I just disabled my wireless connection…

What are your writer’s crimes? Reader’s crimes?

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