Have you ever purchased a New York Times bestseller only to discover a typo or blatant error? Most of us have experienced it. Writing errors can detract from the overall impression of quality that readers seek from a book that has been published. This might result in negative feedback and bad ratings, which can negatively influence sales.
Although errors are almost unavoidable in a finished manuscript, striving for perfection is nevertheless a good goal. Understanding the most frequent errors can help authors approach their work and editing process with greater clarity, avoiding typical mistakes.
So you want to write but have no idea where to begin? The road to becoming a published author is long and difficult, with many ups and downs along the way. You will undoubtedly make blunders learning the ropes as a new writer.
That’s Alright; Nevertheless, Here’s a List of Common Mistakes to Help you Minimize Them-
1. Learn to Show Not Just Tell:
It’s possible that this is the most often mentioned writing error among editors. Authors have a natural tendency to tell rather than show. This indicates that the author summarizes or explains what happened rather than allowing the reader to experience the tale through action, dialogue, emotions, and senses.
They frequently do it by dumping information or expressing a character’s emotions rather than showing how those emotions are expressed.
2. Poor Opening:
The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated. Writers frequently begin with a detailed description of the environment or a commonplace event such as waking up from a dream or chatting to themselves in the mirror.
Not only are they clichés, but we learn nothing about the tale or the character as a result of them.
When you make readers care about a character and their reasons, they will continue reading. What do they want and who are they? That’s why the opening paragraph — no, the first line – is crucial in grabbing your readers’ attention.
A large element of a tale’s success is determining the right point of view for the plot. For example, we know that most YA is written in the first person because younger readers relate to the immediacy of the first-person emotional experience.
Since an author must be able to change effortlessly from the hero’s perspective to the heroine’s, romance is generally presented in deep third-person omniscient. POV defines how a story is told, therefore getting it right is crucial to a book’s success.
4. Lack of Research:
Various genres have their own set of rules about word count, character ages, and so on. Some new authors end up with a book that is either too lengthy or too short, or a premise that does not easily fit into a category.
Genres exist to help publishers sell books and retailers decide where to put them on the shelve.
Even if you’re conducting a cross-genre work, be sure you know which category your work belongs in.
It will most likely fall into one of two genres.
Recognize the risks you’re taking if you wish to reinvent the wheel and do away with genres. If you don’t want to take the usual way, you may always self-publish your book.
5. Weak Plot:
One of the most difficult elements of writing a novel is plotting. There will be no story if there is no plot. Occasionally, authors make the error of assuming that a sequence of events equals a plot.
There is a beginning, middle, and end to a plot. Consider the components of a plot that you learned in high school or creative writing classes: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
6. Misuse of Punctuation:
We could write a whole other blog article about how to use punctuation correctly, here, we’ll simply focus on the three most common punctuation errors our editors notice.
- Authors frequently employ commas in places where they don’t belong, such as before a dependent clause.
- There are two types of authors: those who misuse the semicolon and those who completely avoid it.
- The sole difference between hyphens (-), en dashes (–), and em dashes (—) is the length of the dash. In a phrase, however, they are more different.
7. Not Knowing Your Audience:
All authors seek inspiration from other writers. What’s more, what’s better than the classics? Isn’t there a reason they’re a classic?
This is why some authors resort to overly flowery language or just seem like they belong in another period.
There’s nothing wrong with going back to the beginning and reading the classics. However, keep in mind that today’s audiences are different, and the manner we communicate has evolved dramatically since the Victorian period.
Write for a modern audience unless you’re creating historical fiction.
8. Bad Editing:
New authors may believe that writing will take up 75 percent of their work, while editing will take up just 25%.
The truth is just the contrary. Rarely is the original draft the final one. When you begin editing and rewriting your work, the real labor begins.
Editing is more than just checking for typos and grammatical errors. You must keep an eye out for narrative holes, inconsistencies, and a lack of flow, among other things.
Your final draft could not look anything like your first draft! It’s often beneficial to have another pair of eyes, such as a buddy or a writing group, go through your work and provide criticism. The most beneficial decision would be to hand it over to a professional editor.
9. Awful Presentation:
Purple ink manuscripts, perhaps? With poor spelling and unusual fonts? And what about punctuation that failed to show up for work?
Since computers and spellcheckers prevent severe errors, this is less common than folklore would have you think. Nonetheless, classic signs can often be enough.
If you were an agent, and you got a manuscript with a lot of run-on sentences (independent sentences separated by commas rather than full stops), you might believe you had better things to do than read any further, isn’t it?
10. Lack of Research on Agents and Publishers:
Sure, it’s tempting to approach as many agencies or publishers as possible in the hopes of getting a response.
A focused strategy, on the other hand, will increase your chances of success.
Find agents or publishers who specialize in your genre. On Manuscript Wish List, agents frequently publish the sorts of manuscripts they’re searching for currently.
11. Not Reading Enough Books in your Genre:
When researching the genre for which you’re writing, it’s a good idea to read as many novels as possible in that genre.
You’ll gain a better sense of the writing style in your genre, as well as the people that might read it, this way.
12. Lack of Clarity:
Your main purpose is simple. Your writing must convey meaning in a clear and concise manner. Your meaning must be very clear at all times. It must be obvious who or what is being addressed to when you employ pronouns (‘it,’ ‘she,’ ‘he,’ etc.). Use dangling modifiers rarely.
Unless you’re trying to be mysterious, your reader has to know where they are, when they’re there, and what’s going on. This is simple and easy, yet not every manuscript achieves it.
If you want to make a livelihood as a professional writer, the quality of your work must be sufficient. There are no shortcuts in this situation.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that, as with every rule, there are exceptions to every one of the writing errors listed above.
However, you should use this list as a general guide to preventing the common errors that might damage your work. So, as usual, be attentive and take the time to thoroughly revise and proofread your work. Or, be smarter and leave the proofreading and editing part to an expert. As we all know by now that editing is not an easy task and at the same time is the most important part of the process.