One of my biggest "flub-ups" is repetitious use of words. I can even pen the same word twice in one paragraph without noticing. I suppose I'm just too into the story I'm writing to realize I've already used house or door or flames more than once. Someone recently told me I had too many ands in a paragraph, AND I suppose there were.
I've been told my plots are too complicated. Or that they're too boring. My characters speak too old. They speak too young. I have too many secondary characters. That my secondary characters are awesome. My editor says I use too much humor while my readers say they love the humor in my stories. I've been told by my publisher to dummy down my writing. Meanwhile, reviewers have accused me of writing on the third grade level.
DO YOU SENSE MY CONFUSION?
Too many opinions can sour our word soup. Muddle the waters. Make us want to throw up our calloused fingertips and yell, "I just can't write anymore. I suck monkey balls."
Wouldn't it be better if we--me included--ignored everyone's opinion and concentrated on writing a good story? For a little while, just set aside all those craft rules and write? Then, once the main story was completed, go back and look for all the items of craft we're been taught. After all, craft makes our work shine.
There's only one thing: My need to have a near perfect chapter before I can move onto the next. It's a sickness, I tell you. I will rewrite that chapter a dozen times, still using repetitious words, until it feels right.
Do you see my conundrum?
I want to improve. I want to write a good story. I want to recall and automatically use the elements of craft I've learned. For some reason, the three won't coalesce. Even so I keep trying, because I won't give up. Somewhere I have to reach the land of improvement. I have an idea, we'll all get there by taking our own mode of transportation. Each writer's journey will be different. Let's hope it's not too difficult--or long.