Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10 Terrors for a Writer


We writers are suspicious creatures. Here are 10 things which would fill any writer with horror - or maybe it’s just me. 


10. Opening a copy of your new book to discover a typo in the second paragraph on page 57.

9. Realizing half way through your manuscript that you're writing a plot you’ve already employed in a different book.

8. Discovering that half your characters have names starting with the same letter. Don’t laugh. This happened to me and I now have sirens going off in my head if I think about using a name starting with that letter.

7. No coffee.

6. No chocolate.

5. No coffee or chocolate. Yes, I know I’ve written the same thing as #7 and #6; but the horror, the horror!

4. That writer that you know who is more productive in an hour than you are in a week. (And who probably lives in a house that could be on the cover of House Beautiful, but that’s another issue).

3. Discovering that your protagonist isn’t who you thought you wrote at all, but a rather insufferable prig who needs to sit on a tack.

2. Awaking with a marvelous idea and snatching pen and paper only to discover the words refuse to appear.

1. The blank page. (Yes, exciting and full of possibilities, etc. But terrifying. See #2)

Please share your writerly horrors! Laughing makes the monsters go away.


Elspeth Futcher is an author and playwright. Her murder mystery games A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet. All thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by host-party.com. Her newest game, Once Upon a Murder, is now available and published by Red Herring Games. Her 'writing sheep' are a continuing feature in the European writers' magazine Elias. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Futcher, Author.

18 comments :

  1. Great list.
    Waking in the night to discover your dedicated pen, kept with the notebook, has been purloined, and forgetting the great idea before you find a replacement!
    Having the best idea ever whilst on a walk and discovering the batteries in your voice recorder are dead!

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    Replies
    1. Actually, with the last one, I remembered I had my mobile phone with me. I've never learned how to use it to make voice recordings, so I sent myself a voicemail! It worked.

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  2. The blank page - absolutely terrifying!

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  3. Add: getting to the end of the first draft and realizing the whole thing needs to be burned.

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    1. I once did this! Wrote 78,000 words of a thriller, by hand, on lined paper and then chucked the whole thing in the bin! Odd thing is, I can still recall most of the story, after, what, 35 years!

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    2. Wow. That isn't terror that's courage beyond measure. I admire you both. Now let me qualify - I admired you both already, but now it's more.

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  4. I found tons of errors after I put my just released novel into pre-order, which locks the writer out from making any changes. This after 4 reads, including an edit. Most errors would go by unnoticed, but I noticed them. I stayed up late and waited for the release so the book was unlocked, uploaded the new version. I fully expected to ask Amazon to re-release a revision, but when I got my copy, the changes had been made. I guess the time between unlocking and Amazon sending out to the pre-order customers was enough to make the changes. Only those in the Europe and Australia got the first edition. I will replace the old version with a new to my good UK customer. Too much stress in this book. I had promised a September release, but I should have waited until October. But I did a whole blog post on that, didn't I? Anyway, it's out, has two five-star reviews already, so I'm breathing easier.

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    Replies
    1. Terrifying. Good on you for not being frozen by the horror and doing something about it.

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  5. Our world is terrifying for sure, and we haven't even touched on ISIS or Ebola.

    Seriously, I chuckled when I read the list, mostly because it's all too true. Great post, Elspeth!

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    1. I think a chuckle is needed once in a while in this terrifying world, don't you? Thanks for your kind words, Linda.

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  6. I would say the 'typo' is the most terrifying to me ... I swear my tombstone will read RIQ.

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  7. Totally love this list. I have met face to face with many of these points. And I do have a writer friend with the fancy house. And she has great hair. Always.

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  8. Discovering that not only do all your characters' names start with the same letter, they also rhyme! The horror! Seriously, I think I may need to vary my names in one of my novels. I love this post - especially the protagonist who needs to sit on a tack. ;)

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    Replies
    1. If you have difficulty finding names for characters, visit my blog - the link is at the end of this - where you'll find an alphabetical list of 10,000 first names, divided by gender and with national origins appended. You can download it so that it's always on hand on your computer. I collected the information over a number of years and decided I might as well share it. Here's the link: http://stuartaken.blogspot.co.uk/p/links.html#.VC7n_SldVn8

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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