One of my weak points in writing is putting the sequel before the scene, or the reaction before the action. A very basic example of this is having the person jump, startled, and then door slams open. Rather than having the door slam open and then the person jump. I think the reason for this is that subconsciously I feel I am startling the reader as well as the character, by not clueing the reader into what is happening. In other words, if I have the character react first, I somehow think that is going to make the action have more impact.
Of course it doesn’t work that way. Instead it is like those sudden moments when you are left thinking, ‘hey, what just happened? what did I miss?’. I certainly don’t want to leave a reader feeling like they’ve missed something. So why do I consistently write this mistake into my stories, and then spend an inordinate amount of time editing them back out?
In my mind, the action has already happened, and I’m more interested in how the character is going to react, and what’s going to happen next. My fingers can’t write as fast as my brain sees the action scene and so I skip ahead. Well, that sounds good, but in reality I don’t even think about it. I write blithely away, and then wait for my friend, fellow writer and editor, Susan, to point out the areas in her very gentle way. She usually prefaces this with a compliment to make it hurt less. But still, compliments aside, I cringe because I’m repeating the same mistake.
Will I learn? Probably not while I’m in the midst of writing. But hopefully my eye will be trained to start catching it before I send it off for a kind friend to find kind ways to say I did it again. Meanwhile I’m going to return to that manuscript and do some editing.
What are your weak points in writing that you struggle with? Why do you think you make those mistakes, and how do you plan to change? And finally, are those mistakes truly mistakes or are they bending the rules to create a fresh new voice, add a unique twist, enhance your story, or build your character? Sometimes breaking the rules benefits the story. But I suppose that’s a subject for another day.