Being a writer is a curse, I tell you.
Half the published books I read, I can't completely enjoy BECAUSE I ANALYZE THEM.
You see, we writers have little rules-of-thumb and tips-for-cleaner-writing floating around in our heads at all times. Which is usually great, because they help us become better writers (in theory). The problem is, they nag even when we're reading. Which is annoying. They make us want to take perfectly good published books and go at them with our red pens flourished.
For instance, I've been reading a book that is filled with creative tags.
I'm sure the writer thought she was very clever using lots and lots of big words to describe how her characters were saying certain things. Words like "pontificated" and "enthused" were thrown around freely, as if they could improve the dialog.
But all they made me want to do was throw the book across the room.
They distracted me. I realized after I finished a page that I had no idea what the characters had been talking about, because I'd been too busy counting the author's creative alternatives to "said."
Please put me out of my misery!
If you've ever received a critique from me and you are a creative-tag-user, you probably listened to my spiel about simple tags (only "said" and "cried" allowed, and maybe "shouted"). My argument always is, if your dialog is strong, you don't need fancy tags.
I know some people choose to take my advice and some don't. Which is totally fine. It's one of those rules we throw around in the writing community, but outside the writing community? Let's face it, normal readers probably DON'T CARE.
Please don't use "pontificate." For the love of all things tidy, if your character is pontificating, please show us they're pontificating instead of telling us the sentence they just said is a pontification. This is all I ask!
How about you? Do you use creative tags? Do you have other writing rules ping-ponging in your head that make you a fault-finding reader?