Friday, February 7, 2014
Free topic : Writing Mistakes
Oh goodness. Today was my day to post and I completely forgot. Can I blame that on pregnancy brain? Yes? Well, I am. Apologies for the late post. Also, because I'm an unprepared slacker, this post may end up on the shorter side. Again, I'm sorry.
This month is a free topic over here for us Tangled Girls, so I decided to write a post about the top writing mistakes I see when editing.
1. Telling instead of Showing.
Here's an easy example of telling:
The thunder scared Sandy.
With a little tweaking, you can add depth to it by showing. Ex.
A loud boom reverberated through the sky, shooting ice down Sandy's back and freezing her in place.
2. Comma splicing. This is when two independent clauses are connected with a comma. Ex.
I dropped my phone, the screen cracked.
This should be:
I dropped my phone. The screen cracked.
Or you can add a bit to make it:
When I dropped my phone, the screen cracked.
I dropped my phone, causing the screen to crack.
3. Nauseous/Nauseated. Most of the time, I see this:
Rotten eggs permeated the room, making me nauseous.
It should be:
Rotten eggs permeated the room, making me nauseated.
"Nauseous" actually means to cause the feeling of sickness, whereas "nauseated" means to feel sick.
4. British English vs. American English. A lot of times, I see British English and American English mingled together in one manuscript. Here are some of the more common words I see mixed together.
British spelling: Towards/Backwards American: Toward/Backward
Since I work for an American press, I always change anything to the American spelling, however, regardless of which you choose, try to stay uniform throughout your m/s.
5. Dialogue tags. Now, this may simply be my personal preference, but typically, you'll want to keep your dialogue tags simple. Such as:
"What kind of desserts do you like?" Dan asked.
"I love macaroons," Christina said.
"Anything chocolate," Hannah replied.
I say keep the tags simple because the more complicated your tags are, the more they tend to pull the reader out of the story, focusing on the tag rather than the dialogue. (Also, side note - try to keep your dialogue tags sparse, and when possible, use an action tag instead since they help to show more.)
There you have it. Those are my top five writing mistakes. I, myself, am so guilty of them, and it's the reason only my trusted CPs get to see my first drafts! :) How about you all? What are the top writing mistakes you see? What do you do to correct them?
And, since I couldn't find a gif to match my topic, here's one of Brett angry dancing. Enjoy!