Monday, July 27, 2009

If You've Got Five Minutes...

You're gonna love this. Trust me. It's five minutes and worth every single second. You might wanna even watch it twice. I could preform it for you by now. I won't. I can't sing.

This is how I feel when I'm in a Writing Rut. (I'm not saying I am. It just reminded me of it. But I could be...) It seems like I have certain words and phrases and descriptions I use over and over again--like Pachelbel and the same chords in every song.

Do you do this? How do you make each story distinct with the words you use? I try to listen to the characters, but sometimes I find myself always using, say, something like this, "She held the XXX in front of her like a shield." And it's never something that could actually, yanno, shield anything. It's like her history paper. Or the pants that boy is bringing over. Or something. (Don't try to make sense of the pants. Really. Maybe I'll post it for Teaser Tuesday. That's right. It's being resurrected. Prepare yourselves.)

Anyway, back to Pachelbel and repetition in your stories. With all the letters and words and sentences and different ways to put them together, do you ever find yourself writing in a rut? If so, how do you get out?

By the way, I do this (the rut thing) with dinner too. My boy kidlet will sometimes say, "Sloppy joes...again?" and I give him the laser eye and he mumbles, "Sorry," and eats his stinking sloppy joe. Again.


M. Dunham said...

Ahh, kids.

I love that skit; I've seen it before and totally worth the watch. I think we all have phrases we tend to use. I know I do in my writing. I like to quirk mouths and eyebrows.

But I don't ever find myself in a writing rut, not with my writing itself anyways. I sometimes find myself in the "I'm a lazy strumpet" rut, but my writing... nah. My characters are fascinating, and their interactions never fail to entertain/amuse me.

Stephanie McGee said...

I haven't seen that video in ages! It's so hilarious! And I know what you mean about the repetition and such. It happens to me all the time in my poetry. I'll use the same sort of color descriptor multiple times in a span of poems and then have to really sit and puzzle till my puzzler is sore to figure out a way around the repetitions.

Novice Writer Anonymous

Unknown said...

It's grocery shopping week and alas all we have in the freezer is chicken. Chicken Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...I have a feeling my family will refuse to let me buy chicken ever again. It's a chicken rut!

But I so get it. Although I'm more in a bang my head against the computer desk every day because the ideas aren't flowing my way type of rut right now....

Unknown said...

I loved that video! What a great way to start the week. I find myself repeating the same phrases, too. Hopefully my crit group will catch them. I also like to go through and do a search & destroy for common words that are usually not needed, like "that" and "just." You'd be surprised how often you put them in.

Susan R. Mills said...

That was great!

I am terrible about using the same phrases too much. My characters' eyes are always doing something. It's funny you posted this today because I'm in the middle of trying to fix that problem!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Love that rant! *snorts* And you are oh-so-clever to tie it to writing. Lately, I've noticed some things either I've used or other writers I'm critiquing use over and over:
She started to (whatever action)
He was going to (whatever action)
She couldn't help but(whatever)

It seems sometimes we use such phrases as place holders as we write and we need to remove them to make the action pop.

Cali MacKay said...

HA!!! Hysterical! I'd never seen that before.

I'm totally one for word ruts. It's horrible. The only thing saving me is my poor critique group who has to slog through it.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove said...

Didn't have the time to watch the vid, but I will come back and check it out later.

With the writing in a rut thing, I've been there before (mainly with words that end in -ly), and what I do to try and overcome that is to sit while writing and try and think of something better to use. If I don't think of something better at the time I put the -ly word and cross it out in revision.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove said...

Forgot to say thank you for checking out my blog, I hope you like it.

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Ruts (gasp). So hard to get around sometimes. Especially if you don’t know you’re stuck in one until you go back and reread your work. :P I hate starting over.
My ruts usually form in plot moments. Characters on the run, a specific family issue, a particular character trait. The only way I can find to overcome this is to be really mindful of what I’m doing in the outline stage and while I’m writing.
Thanks for pointing out that we’re not alone in our writing ups and downs.

Oh, and yes, I think we should unite against grammar check. ;)

Robin M said...

Love the video. Never seen it before. Yes - we get in ruts all the time. I try to avoid in my writing- just being aware of the fact that I could be repeating myself gets me out of the rut. Coming up with creative ways to say the same thing or even make dinner. There are only so many ways you can make chicken. In fact, we are sick of chicken this week. Mexican food sounds good about now. :)

Unknown said...

We just ate Pizza, again.

Anonymous said...

Mine is "still". That word crops up everywhere.
By the way, hilarious video!

B.J. Anderson said...

Yeah. I have this problem a lot. I figure the stuff that hasn't been published (which is all of it) can be recycled. Bwahaha! Especially some of the phrases from the first manuscript that will never see the desk of an agent or editor ever again.

ali cross said...

That was freakin' awesome!

I played the bassoon for that song in high school and so I was totally laughing my head off. We didn't have strings, so the bassoon played that cello part. :D

Fun stuff Elana :)

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