What about your writing style do you like/dislike?

I posted the following in the “Ruin SW Ep. 3” thread in Cafe Society:

Man, it’s crap like the above that makes me wish for an edit feature… y’all sure you can’t turn it on for some of the forums (CS, MPISMS, IMHO) and leave it off for the “serious” forums (GQ, GD, Cecil/Staff report)?

Anyway, what kills me is my constant use of the same word in a single (or concurrent) sentences. Disregard the idiocy of something “suddenly grinding to a halt” (hey, I was caught up in the moment), I’m just flummoxed as to why I always make the same mistakes. On other forums it isn’t so bad as one can edit their posts, but on this one our errors are just sitting there, mocking us. :sigh: :frowning:

(By the way, I just did it again, using “mistakes” three times in the above paragraph. Preview is my friend).

Oh, I have other problems… commas and apostrophes aren’t my favorite thing, and I really love parenthetical statements (see above ( :wink: ) ), but this repeating of words just has to stop.

So, what do you like/dislike about your posting/writing style? I know some people who don’t even read what they wrote, being too self-conscious about it.

I write technical reports for work, and I’ve fallen into the overall writing style of “short and to the point.” It works for what I do, but when I’m posting, writing email, or writing a journal entry, it seems too terse.

I have to really think about expanding on what I’m saying. I see other writers take lovely long paragraphs to really give the reader a visual picture, and I want to write like that. I’m more apt to write, “we got a goat this weekend”, and leave it at that. It doesn’t read very well.

See? I worked on this entry and it’s still short. Practice, I need practice.

Conversely, I find myself unnecessarily padding my sentences. I, too, work as a writer, but for training materials for Big Blue. I’ve really had to work on not being too “flowery” and more economical with my words, in order to cater to my audience of salespeople, who won’t read anything that isn’t bullet-pointed and available to read in the preview pane in Outlook.

It’s tough switching back and forth.

I suffer from the ‘repeat the same word or phrase’ problem. I believe this is quite common, and something an editor would normally catch if you were writing for publication. On the SDMB, you have to be your own editor, but stuff like this can be hard to catch on a quick re-reading.

It bothers me that I sometimes make spelling and grammatical errors on message boards that I know damned well not to make. There is nothing more frustration than hitting ‘submit’ and then realizing that you’ve put an apostrophe on the wrong usage of ‘its’, or misspelled an easy word. Some people go so far as to write their messages in word and then use the spelling/grammar checker before pasting it into an edit box on the board, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Here’s another problem - notice I said above that “There is nothing more frustration than…” I think I stopped there to think of the right word, and I thought “Frustration. Yep. It’s frustration.” So then I wrote frustration, and forgot the context in which it was being used. That kind of stuff jumps out at you on proofreading, but sometimes I forget to proofread, too.

I tend to write really, really, really long sentences – and add a lot of asides, often set off with dashes (though sometimes with parentheses).

In real life, I’m an editor, so I’m pretty good about punctuating these behemoths properly, and making sure my dashes and parentheses are properly paired, but, frankly, I’m better off going back and breaking the suckers up into more managable units.

Virtually all of the above, especially the repeated use of words and phrases. Also my weird, almost dyslexic-like tendency to default to the passive voice and my incredible overuse of parenthetical asides. The latter is a habit I won’t ever break, since it reflects the way I think and footnoting is just way to tedious for me. But it sure looks ugly sometimes.

  • Tamerlane

I, too, tend to overuse parentheses. It doesn’t really bother me, but I can see how it can make for some confusing reading. Probably one of my biggest problems is that when composing a lengthy post, I am constantly re-phrasing certain sections, but forget to rephrase associated sections. The results can further obfuscate my meaning if I don’t catch them in one of my many previews (the main problem being that I know what I mean to say, so I sometimes don’t catch that what I am saying may not be what I mean to say!).

I have a tendancy to be brief and to the point.

That I write like I talk.

I talk in strings of sentences strung together by conjunctions, which isn’t so bad, but that’s how I write too. I just stick periods before the conjunctions so it doesn’t seem like a massive run-on. And I just don’t like it. But if I drop the conjunctions, the sentences don’t feel like they have any connection. And that’s bad.

I have the “use the same word/phrase over and over” problem too. In addition, whenever I write an essay or research paper, my unhealthy addiction to commas, dashes and colons of both persuasions becomes evident. My sentences can ramble on forever, carrying two or three separate thoughts with them. Bah.

I have another quirk as well. Sometimes when I’m writing I forget how to spell a word…a really simple word that I’ve seen and used a thousand times. I’ll write it out like I think it’s spelled, but somehow it won’t look exactly right, and I’ll try two or three variations before settling on one.

I DO THAT A LOT! One time I forgot how to spell fur for a school thing. I was freaking out, because I forgot how to spell it. Other times it’s the…or eat…ust simple words. I felt like an idiot when I had to ask how to spell the.

I use parentheses more than I should (I like to include extra details for clarity). In my preceding example I could have just as easily written this without using parentheses. I feel such phrases disrupt the continuitity of the reading.

I’ll try to use several adjectives for one thing, only to look back and realize that at least two or more of the words mean the same thing. For example, I might use the words “dry” and “parched” together, when they really mean the same thing.

My use of commas is somewhat arbitrary and I probably use them more frequently than is necessary.

I try to avoid, at all costs, mixing up its and it’s, but invariably a few of these have slipped through in my posts and I end up making myself look like an idiot. Too often I have had to resist the temptation to include a follow-up post just so people here will know that I did make it past the seventh grade.

I also tend to write lengthy sentences and construct some of them too verbosely, but I’d rather do this than write a bunch of choppy, short sentences that don’t have any substance.

My tendency towards brevity.

My writing looks like that of a medical doctor, not a doctor of psychology, which I am. :frowning:

I tend to overuse semicolons; they allow me to combine what would otherwise be short, choppy thoughts into bloated run-on sentences; also, they look cool.

I try to come up with alternative ways of describing something than by the usual Dear Diary method. I try to be poetic and use metaphor, but the results are often way too purple or unintentionally hilarious.

One time I described somebody’s briefcase as being overpacked with pamphlets, bulging out the sides like oversized lettuce leaves straddling an undersized Big Mac. Arggggh. :smack:

Nice. I do the same thing…I recently likened a Jaguar XJ with a Nurse Shark :rolleyes: Oh well, that’s just me. :slight_smile:

My early drafts tend to be very skimpy and sketchy with a lot of holes in them.
I think it’s because I spent so much time working on screenplays that some of the methodology got carried over into my short stories. In screenplays you can’t have many words on the page, just bursts of dialogue and bits of description. This can work in a minimalist short story, but it does not work for me. My friend/trusted editor often points out how much I have left out and what needs to be developed further.

My writing style reflects my moods and emotions.

I have a friend that laughs that I can’t tell a story without giving the background of all involved.

I write letters, usually rather long, in the manner in which I speak. (See previous sentence.)

I admin/mod at another board. When wearing the disciplinarian hat, I am to the point.

In general on-line conversations I’m a bit more relaxed, especially with people I know.

Regardless of style I always try to use correct spelling and punctuation, don’t always succeed. I hate using short-hand.

I enjoy writing to converse as it gives me time to think and review what I’ve said. When engaged in spoken communications, discussions and arguements, my emotions take reign and I devolve into seeming incoherence.
By the way, can anyone tell me what IIRC means?
And ‘Preview Post’ is a very good friend to me.

If I Recall (or Remember) Correctly.