1. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    Habits in writing style...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mesuno, Jan 23, 2009.

    Hi folks,

    I think I've spotted a bad habit in my own writing. At the least I know I would be annoyed by it if I found it repeated in a book I was reading. If you look at this thread you can see I've unconciously ended each paragraph in a short sentence. I didn't spot it, despite numerous proof readings, until after I had posted it. I've looked at a few of my other bits and found it elsewhere too.

    How do you cure yourself of a bad habit, particularly one you aren't aware of while you are writing?
     
  2. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    That's an interesting one.
    I think every bad habit probably has to be cured a different way. For you, I'd just set a timer when starting to write with a sticky note beside it telling you to check your paragraph endings. Then when the timer goes off and you turn it off, you'll remember probably just from the timer but if not, the note will tell you. Then just go back and fix it. I'm not sure if that'll cure your habit, but it'll at least clean up after it.

    You could also always try a tight rubber band around your finger...
    Nate
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Now that you're aware of it, that's the first step. You'll know to be on the lookout. You might still commit the error (well...style preference) for a while but after enough times of checking yourself or editing to remove such things, it'll become second nature to not include them in the first place. That's really all one can do.
     
  4. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    So basically I'll have to keep bludgeoning myself with it while proofing until I wean myself off it. Guess I could have worked out that for myself :rolleyes:

    Anyone got similar issues they had to sort out?
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think little habits like these creep into everyone's writing at one time or another. I've a similar habit of making a tiny little sentence in between paragraphs to make a point.

    A large point.

    See? Just like that one there. Every once in a blue moon, I figure it's Ok, but I end up having to edit out a bunch of them.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The first thing, of course, is to become aware of it. Then decide if it's really a bad habit, or just something you are overusing. In moderation, it my be a strong technique, so you may not want to become so critical of it that you fail to use it when you should.

    Foir instance, the short sentence at the end of a paragraph can add punch. Repeat it too often, though, and you are pummeling the reader until he or she is staggering groggily.

    Figure out wher the habit came from, and what value it does hold in isolation. Then you can go back over the writing and remove the sentences where the habit isn't necessary, or is less necessaary than another place nearby that needs it more.

    What you probably want is for the habit to become a deliberate tool choice for yoru writing toolbox, unless it truly is a bad writing habit.
     
  7. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    Thanks Cogito - that's good advice. I think I'll look over that section again and see what my preferred choice would be, rather than the unconscious one now. I suspect that I'll want to keep some of them unchanged. Since noticing I've written something else and it hasn't been so much of a problem. I guess just focussing my attention on it may have helped already.
     
  8. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Well, my apologies for offering advice then, I figured since you were asking you wanted opinions.

    (And yes, I've had the same problem, and this was the solution that's worked for me so far.)
     
  9. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    Sorry tehuti - that roll-eyes was supposed to be directed back at myself. Damn text based communication methods!

    /me shakes fist at interweb gods generally
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Text based communication methods are what the site is all about. Emotiocons, of course, are the harbingers of doom.
     
  11. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    Hmmm... guess that is another post made of epic fail. Attempting wry, self-deprecating sarcasm in five words without the support emoticons is obviously too much for me.

    *disclaimer -I am unable to successfully bridge the web/humour divide. Treat everything I say with care.
     

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