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Bad Writing Habits with K A Servian & #Free Book!

We invited NZ author K A Servian to share with us some bad writing habits. Why don't you share yours in the comments?

And she has free gifts for all! 

After a twenty-plus-year career in the applied arts industry, including owning her own fashion and jewellery labels, Kathy decided to turn her creative skills to writing fiction.

Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in applied writing in around writing novels and short stories, teaching sewing and pattern making and being a wife and mother.

K A Servian on the web:

Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  


Sign up for K A Servian’s Newsletter and get a free copy of: Missing the Obvious.



Bad habits - we all have them

I’m wordy; I put my hand up and admit it. I love words, especially descriptive ones. When I write, I’m attempting to transfer the images in my head to the page and those images are detailed, rich and colourful. So when I did an exercise as part of the Advanced Diploma in Applied Writing I’m currently completing that required a non-fiction passage describing an event without using a single adjective or adverb, my blood ran cold. That’s impossible, isn’t it? I muttered.

With some trepidation, I began to describe a trip to the local market, searching each word I wasn’t sure of.  It turns out that a lot of words I thought were nouns or verbs, aren’t. There are the obvious adverbs like happily, but then there are sneaky adjectives like just which I have a habit of overusing. It was slow going and there was a fair amount of cursing, but eventually I managed it. Here is the passage:

Bunting is stretched between the trees and flutters in the breeze above clusters of marquees on the village green. My sandals sink into the grass and someone steps on my toe. We see friends who stop to chat about school and the weather.
As I wander past each stall, there are glimpses of colour and texture that entice me to step inside. I know if I cross the threshold, I'll feel obliged to buy. I don’t need any more soy candles or wind chimes.
Conversation floats on the air and scents mingle to make my mouth water: Indian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish and of course, Kiwi—mussel fritters. We make a beeline for Stumpy’s pizza stall. My son watches the man spread the dough with ease despite having one arm. As we walk away with our pizza, my son tells me that the man had one arm, in case I hadn't noticed.
Music plays, the clouds clear and sun beats on our heads. We find a patch of grass in the shade and squat to eat our pizza, burning our mouths on the cheese and wishing we'd had the foresight to buy a drink.
The chaos of the market overwhelms us, but we tackle the crowds each month because we love it.


It’s not Shakespeare and to my eyes, it’s a bit dry, but it proves a valuable point. It is possible to be descriptive without relying on adjectives and adverbs to ‘carry us’. I’m not saying for one moment that we should all slash every adverb and adjective out of our writing, but, it pays to be vigilant of slipping into bad habits and perhaps doing an exercise like this every so often is a great way to stay limber. 

K A Servian's latest book:

Grace is trying to come to terms with her mother's death and handle the unexpected arrival of her ex-boyfriend when a mystery document she finds in a box in the attic turns her life on its head and raises questions she is compelled to answer.

In her search for the truth, she stumbles into the middle of a missing person cold case in a small town where the inhabitants have kept a secret to protect one of their own for twenty-five years. Grace's investigation unearths long-held rivalries and opens old wounds, causing the past to collide with the present with terrifying results. 



Shame on Who? (Short Prequel to Throwing Light)


In 1979, fifteen-year-old Jane Smith announced to her parents that she was expecting a baby. Thirty-five years later, the repercussions of the decision made by her father on that day come home to roost in the romantic thriller 'Throwing Light.' 'Shame on who?' is a short prequel to the book and provides insight into the dramatic events that changed Jane's life.