Common Mistakes New Authors Make

  1. Leading with the setup. If you’re like me, you thought you needed to give your reader some information up front so they could better understand your characters and what was going on. I guess it was a little boring, but my reader was well prepared for the good stuff they never got to 🙂 Setup, regardless of how well written, is boring. Try to weave in small amounts at a time.
  2. Telling too much. Yes, I’m guilty of this one too. Remember backstory and passive voice distance the reader from the action. If your reader’s sense of immediacy is lost, meaning she can’t visualize the events as they occur, you may lose her.
  3. Scenes that lack conflict. You probably guessed I was guilty of this one too 🙂 I had scenes that were nothing but backstory and setup. I really feel bad for the family members and friends I asked to read my finished manuscript.
  4. Writing unsympathetic characters.  Yes, I got this one right 🙂 Readers want to connect emotionally with the heroine and hero. They want to root for them, laugh with them, and cry with them. Clearly establish the character’s motivation for behaving in any manner that might make them appear unsympathetic.
  5. Giving the reader a reason to stop reading. Don’t allow a chapter or scene to end in an anti-climactic moment. Always end scenes/chapters with a hook. And yes, I’m guilty of this one too 🙂

Something to think about!

-Jan R

Common Mistakes New Authors Make

Mistakes In Word Choice

untitled.pngI was reading comments from a copy editors’ camp this week, and I thought I would share what was identified as the most common error they cite: mistakes in word choice.

The most common mistakes in word choice are as follows:

  • using which for that and vice versa
  • using affect for effect and vice versa
  • confusing they’re, their, and there
  • confusing your with you’re
  • overusing utilize
  • using between you and I instead of between you and me
  • using compare to when compare with is correct
  • using convince someone to  instead of persuade someone to
  • using its for it’s and vice versa (by far the most common mistake)

There you have it, something else to look for during that revision 🙂

-Jan R

Mistakes In Word Choice