#YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen Part 4


This is the fourth collection of my best Tweets under the hashtag #YouKnowYoureAWriterWhen. Click here to catch up on the first part. These were inspired by @KMWeiland. Her blog is an excellent resource for writers looking to become authors.

These come at the special request of Jessica West (@Wes1Jess on Twitter). Be sure to thank her if you get some amusement out of these.

Your Holiday

  • you get nauseous when you see the same verb twice in the same paragraph
  • you get grief stricken at the death of a character
  • you listen to music appropriate to the era when your story takes place
  • you brew your coffee a night in advance
  • you can write next to the speakers at a club but one cat staring at you is enough to throw you off your game

Halloween all year

  • you’re not sure if you’re having déjà vu or if you’ve used this plot device before
  • you don’t always take Wikipedia’s word for it
  • you drop something just to describe the way that it breaks
  • you realize that amnesia is not a plot device but a character trait
  • you realize you need to merge excess characters into one, like variables in a fraction to be reduced to their lowest possible terms

Rattling Pipes

  • an old man with a Santa Claus beard & skin tight shorts rollerblades by & you say, “He’s going into a story”
  • It feels like your story’s conflict draws from real life experience, but the upbeat resolution always feels fake
  • you pitch other people’s books as if they were your own
  • you try to sell your audience on an underdog character by describing your own living conditions
  • you ruin thrillers, for everyone in the room, by guessing the twist in the first act


  • you think you could fix a movie if only you could write the closed captions
  • you go on a tangent, making fun of a sign’s grammar only to have it pointed out to you that the sign is correct
  • you can’t stop describing your past in present tense because that’s how your screenplay is written
  • you pause to edit dead verbs from your speech patterns
  • you find yourself referring to yourself in the third person limited as a force of habit

Haunted house

  • you abstain from using adverbs in conversation, even when they could save you a whole lot of time
  • you ask yourself, “How would this scene play with a laugh track?” Just for kicks.
  • you can add an extra dimension to a character trope by giving them a goal
  • you imagine a sequel between the 2nd & 3rd installments of a franchise to fix the trilogy, er, quadrilogy
  • you can break the forth wall & your cast still stays in character.

Even Your Cat

  • exercising is your way of punishing yourself for not writing
  • you scout for obscure real world landmarks to airlift into your fictitious town.
  • Shampooed carpets, sparkling countertops, and a well kept lawn are signs of writers’ block
  • you come across something that was written before you were born & want to accuse its author of some kind of time travel plagiarism conspiracy
  • you realize you’ve been writing Twilight Zone fan fiction your entire life.


  • you come up with a plot device The Simpsons haven’t used yet
  • you have all of your interview answers all picked out for each stage of your career
  • you use “research” as an excuse to swim in a fountain in the middle of the mall
  • you know the only right way to read a book is on vinyl with snaps & pops in it
  • you realize that the rudest way to describe someone’s physical attributes might just be the most evocative one


  • you’re intrigued by the thought of writing by candlelight until you realized you’d just burn the pages
  • you lift your dialogue from conversations you have with yourself at the bus stop
  • you plot around logic and write around emotion
  • you secretly hope someone quotes you out of context… In a report on the downfall of civilization
  • people try to use big words to impress you. Words you always have to look up later

Characters Arrive

  • you hope the female protagonist of your novel isn’t made to face away from the camera on the cover
  • you hope they don’t put a silhouette of someone in trench coat holding a gun on the cover of your novel
  • you believe your protagonist is nothing like you even though everyone is going to assume that they are
  • you fear the idea that someone might get a tattoo of something you’ve written
  • You make one of your private peculiarities part of your villain’s daily routine, because you know how bizarre it is

Nature's Way

  • you recognize your early writing mistakes in the first works of other writers
  • you can’t help but add words to songs, as you listen, to make the lyrics more meaningful
  • you fear retribution from your characters if they were ever made flesh
  • you complain about an over used plot device like multiple personalities only to figure out how you could make it fresh
  • you see a movie with a similar plot as your WIP & find relief when it sucks. Now, hopefully everyone else will forget it


  • You realize just how much word processors contribute to your work and fear a massive electrical outage
  • You know a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it’s a picture of a thousand words
  • you’re afraid your story is too high concept to be adapted into a movie, but it would make a fine 12-Episode mini-series on HBO, nudge nudge
  • Old acquaintances ask for mocking status updates on stories you’ve finished ages ago. “Oh that, yeah, I just wrapped up the sequel.”
  • you don’t know which document file to start your day off with. All you know is that you can’t see your desktop wallpaper beneath the clutter

Day Job

  • someone makes the mistake of asking what you’re working on and the sun sets as you take the time to tell them.
  • you can discover the plot for your story by describing the setting, long before the characters walk onto the scene
  • you call a nurse friend and have to hide the fact that you’re only calling to get medical information for a story
  • you alter Wikipedia to conform to your fictitious interpretation of a real world location.
  • long walks count as research studies
  • you wouldn’t be surprised to see one of your quotes attributed to someone prettier, like a meme over a celebrity’s portrait

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