Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Every Day

Since I am in the final editing stages of “Mark of Shamash” as well as “The Gathering: Bk 1 of The Remnant: A Dystopian Paranormal Story”, I thought this post rather apropos. Enjoy

Confessions of a Creative Writing Teacher

Goya -The sleep of reason produces monsters (c1799) recut

In addition to writing and teaching, one of the things I do for a living is to evaluate manuscripts for their suitability for publication. I read fiction (and non-fiction) across several genres, and write comprehensive reports on the books. I try always to guide the author towards knocking his or her project into a shape that could be credibly presented to literary agents, publishers and general readers. You know how Newman and Mittelmark introduce How Not to Write a Novel by saying, ‘We are merely telling you the things that editors are too busy rejecting your novel to tell you themselves, pointing out the mistakes they recognize instantly because they see them again and again in novels they do not buy,’ well they’re right; I am one of those editors.

However good the idea behind a novel, when the author is still learning the craft of writing – like any…

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Reality Check For Authors #6: Grammar Police

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In an age where anyone with half a mind and access to a recording device of some kind, be it PC, Pad, Tablet or just plain old fashion pen and paper, can write a book, post a blog, tell a story, or pod-cast a ‘Do This or Don’t Do That’, without even once passing it under the ever watchful eye of an editor or grammatically knowledgeable person. In other words, it’s just to darn easy to kiss our syntactic brains goodbye.

Speaking from personal experience, if it weren’t for ‘Spell Check’, ‘Google Search’ and mom, anything I posted other than my grocery list (and even that is questionable), would be grounds for instant revocation of my ‘Author Here’ badge. And even with these multiple safeguards in place, re-reading something I posted six months ago can still elicit the dreaded, ‘Oh crap! How did I ever let that slip through?’ response.

“It’s hard to take someone seriously when they leave you a note saying, ‘Your ugly.’ My ugly what? The idiot didn’t even know the difference between your and you’re.” ― Cara Lynn ShultzSpellcaster

Let’s face it, unless you’re the ‘Grammar Girl, you will always be able to find errors within your errors. It’s just the nature of the beast. You write – you make mistakes. Thus things like ‘The Chicago Manual of Style’, ‘The Everything Grammar And Style Book’ and my person favorite, ‘Grammar for Idiots”.

So the Realty Check for Authors today is: Edit your work before someone else does. Trust me when I say that there are plenty of people in the world who believe it their divine right to  make sure everyone, including your mother, is aware of every grammar faux-pas you’ve ever made.  So do yourself a favor…edit, edit, edit. Then edit again. And when you think what you’ve written sounds like the holy writ of God, edit the dang thing again.

Let’s be honest here readers…you want the world to know you for your brilliance, not your failure to ‘Word Check’.  Just sayin…