My top 6 writing pet peeves

by Amy Karian

1. When I have three characters in a scene and one just kind of disappears into the sidelines 


They might be smoking a cigarette or off drinking a Coke. Maybe they’re having a bathroom break. Maybe they’re lurking in the corner, reading ahead in the script to see what happens next or if their character is going to die. No one knows. That character is just missing in action and I can solemnly swear that I did not send them out of the room.

2. When my characters have out of character moments 

idea cat

They might say something that just doesn’t mesh with who they are and their normal way of talking/acting. My Internal Editor usually puts an end to that nonsense. I’ll have another character actually say, “What’s gotten into you? You’re not acting like yourself.” And I’m like “Heck yeah. He isn’t acting like himself. I’m gonna Block and Delete your unauthorized behavior. Huh! Take that!”

3. When everything that my character is saying can be boiled down to “blah blah blah blah” 

cat writing

I’ve written whole parts that I’ve really liked. They’re sparkling. They’re funny. And they’re painfully pointless. I could rewrite them as “blah blah blah” and it wouldn’t change the story one bit. There’s just no hope for those scenes. They must be Block and Deleted out of existence, no matter how much I want to save their sparkly, witty lives.

4. When my Autocorrect insists on the wrong word 


I have a character named Maelin. Her boyfriend calls her Mae for short. My Autocorrect believes her name should be Mar, for some reason.  Maybe it thinks her name is Marlin? Who knows?

5. When my fingers keep hitting the wrong keys on my small computer


I have two computers. One is a big boss laptop and the other is a small I-Pad sized thing.

Well. Tragedy struck my small computer. I was at a hotel with my sister and we had the air conditioning set for wonderfully cold. The kind of cold where you just want to bundle up under your blankets. It was lovely. Unfortunately, I had my small computer sitting on the desk next to the air conditioning unit. All night. When I tried to raise the top the next morning, the hinges cracked beyond repair.

Fortunately, I’m able to access the touchscreen keyboard. So, I can still use it, which makes me happy.

Unfortunately, the onscreen keyboard is more compact than a physical keyboard. So, when I go to type a word like ‘but’, I’ll accidentally hit the ‘v’ instead of ‘b’. Let me tell you: I have had to delete a whole lot of ‘vut’s.

6. When the wrong version of a chapter gets posted

sad cat

Despite my above complaint, I do most of my typing on my small computer. It’s compact and easy to carry around.  I can type on it when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office. It’s really convenient.

Unfortunately, there are times I’ll have an open draft of a chapter on my small computer and I’ll set that computer aside and finish the chapter on Big Boss. I look over the chapter, glow at how perfect and lovely it all is, and post it.

Then, later on, I’ll go on my small computer. The unfinished, unpolished draft is still there. Still open. And it autosaves as the posted copy.

Instant mortification has occurred.

I automatically think, “Ohhh, shoot. I hope no one saw that.” Then, I go and rewrite it as best as I can remember. And post it as fast as I can.

Wrapping Up… there are other things that make my Internal Editor tense up and smack me over the head with his giant bag of Reeses’ peanut butter cups. (My Internal Editor is usually quiet and laid back, but if he’s provoked, watch out!) But I think I’ll just stick with six. It seems like a good number to stop at.

For now….

Amy Karian is a happy blogger in Michigan. She lives with her two Goldens and one cat. You might occasionally see her in the café area of the local bookstore, muttering to herself as she’s typing mayhem into her characters’ lives. You can find Amy over at her blogs, ambroseandelsie and cosistories

61 thoughts

  1. This is so relatable! For the “blah blah blah” issue, I feel like it can be hard to find a balance between boring and not overly long and detailed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I must admit #1 happens to me more times than I want it to, haha! (and the GIF is epicly cute!)

    However, I don’t totally agree with #2 as people don’t always act “in character” even in real life. They can surprise us… So what about our characters? That’s food for thought, I guess.

    That was a good read! 🙂

    Thanks for writing it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I can so relate to number 1! And then I hate how contrived it feels bring like “Meanwhile Jimmy had just been over in the corner contemplating plot point A and now let’s all remember he exists!”

    I kind of like it when my characters say out of character things, though, because sometimes (just sometimes) it makes me realise I don’t know them as well as I thought! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Haha #1 happens to me so often! I once created an entire scene about how a character got kidnapped, just because I was too lazy to add his name in all the places I forgot. Luckily, that was an old story from a long time ago 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I have issues like that with grammarly. It constantly wants to hyphenate every time two nouns appear next to each other. It sometimes wants to correct to the wrong tense or even a completely different word. It’s supposed to be the best grammar corrector around (either that it’s hemmingway) so I put up with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “It sometimes wants to correct to the wrong tense or even a completely different word.” 😆 It’s the completely different word substitutions that stump me. It’s like “Why? Why do you think I want to use that word? It doesn’t even make sense in that place in the sentence.” 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh man, I thought I was the only one who experienced #6! Ugh.

    What I *really* hate is when I don’t even notice that a rough version has gotten autosaved over the finished version. I’ve gone back to earlier chapters of a manuscript weeks later, only to have some faint memory spark — “Wait, hadn’t I already fixed this?”…and it slowly dawns on me that at some point I mixed up versions, and I have no idea when, and now I have only the faintest memory of what the newer, better version was like. 😦

    There’s no other sinking feeling quite like that! Makes me just want to curl up and not even try to fix it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I completely relate to number one. I’m happy with two characters in a scene but give me a third and I’m all at sea. Even if I remember they’re there one will start sounding like another in their speech. I think I need to make little plasticine models and move them around like in an animated cartoon…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Even if I remember they’re there one will start sounding like another in their speech.” I know exactly how that is! I introduced a character in the second half of my story. And, until I got his voice down pat, he sounded a lot like my main guy character. — to the point where I dreaded having them talk to each other. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Not to be a contrarian, but I like the scenes where they could be cut (not advancing the plot) but they are sweet/funny/give character development. I like them in the books I read and I include them in my writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Reblogged this on cosistories and commented:
    Milly Schmidt over on The Cat’s Write just posted my guest blog “My Top 6 Writing Pet Peeves”. She added cat gifs to it and it looks totally awesome!

    Please come by and visit my post on her blog and leave comments there. Just to spread some of the love her way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. ​Del​ightful! ♥

    [image: –]

    Billy Ray Chitwood [image:

    [image: Billy Ray Chitwood on]

    Billy Ray Chitwood

    Billy Ray Chitwood

    On Mon, Apr 9, 2018 at 9:56 AM, The Cat’s Write wrote:

    > Guest Blog posted: “by Amy Karian 1. When I have three characters in a > scene and one just kind of disappears into the sidelines They might be > smoking a cigarette or off drinking a Coke. Maybe they’re having a bathroom > break. Maybe they’re lurking in the corner, reading ” >


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