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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Primadonnitis

There's a nasty disease going around. The CDC has released no information, but I can tell you all about it, because I've had it more than once. And no matter how many times I catch it, I seem to develop no immunity.

Primadonnitis often attacks writers, especially unpublished ones. The symptoms include a grimace and/or scowl while reading, rolling of the eyes, tension headaches, emotional outbursts, and in severe cases, book throwing.

Dormant primadonnitis can be triggered by a number of factors. Spelling and grammar errors in published work are common triggers. Bouts of primadonnitis are also often preceded by prologues, passive voice, blatant POV violations, wordiness, weak verbs, and excessive use of adjectives and adverbs.

Triggers may also vary by genre. Mystery writers are known to suffer violent attacks when they encounter mistakes in police procedure or evidence collection. Historical writers display symptoms when they encounter anachronisms.

There is no known cure for primadonnitis. Some researchers liken primadonnitis to growing pains, and claim it is a normal part of learning how to read like a writer. Symptoms may diminish in time when writers make their own mistakes, and discover that books don't appear out of thin air, but are written by real people with feelings.

And coincidentally, Rachelle Gardner's most recent blog post discusses a method that should help primadonnitis sufferers: A Monkey Could Have Written That.