Back from Cyprus, on school holiday and working on a mini-rewrite, I have been tearing my hair out; I know! Hair is not only necessary it is quite an attractive feature, so, I really shouldn't, but... added to the regular hair in the plughole I now have a pile of perfectly serviceable locks littering the floor of my study.
There is only one thing that affects me in this way (well, two if I include the entirely avoidable futility of arguing with my autistic son) but the one which is currently driving me to distraction is punctuating fragments in my writing.
No-one speaks in full sentences, except my aforementioned son. Never in dialogue and rarely in real-life situations.
I've spent a week translating my version of spoken English into broken English which was much easier for Cypriots to follow. For a while there I thought the condition might be permanent but, to my relief, I found it was only temporary. Phew!
I seem to be the Queen of Fragmentation. Scanning my novel, after more than six months since my last re-write, all I could see on each page was a plethora of dots and dashes. There were so many I decided I must be, not so much the queen of this country, but the M of MI5. I tried to decode one page, looking for the message I felt certain was hidden there.
I tried, not too hard, but I really tried to eradicate them - ellipses... and dashes - from the whole manuscript. I dusted off my copy of Grammar For People Who Really Ought To Know and attempted to remember how to use the comma the old-fashioned way.
I left the ellipses for those moments of distraction or, as if often the case in NEAR EDGWARE, when someone is lying.
Generally, I found I wasn't guilty of ellipse abuse. But, I have to admit to being totally addicted to em-dashes! I don't use them for interruptions, or events as sudden and unpredictable as... oh, I don't know... perhaps your boyfriend turning into a beast - lol. I tended to use them to add details, or to indicate the complex changes of thought people are, almost, unaware of doing when speaking. My story is written in first person narrative, so I'm sure you can see where the problem arises.
What is your writerly vice? Something you know you really shouldn't do but somehow you still keep doing it anyway?