Author Journey

Most Common Writing Mistakes

It’s extremely NERVE WRACKING to hand over your draft or manuscript for someone else’s eyes to see.

Recently, I wrote a short story for a contest and asked my husband, who has a BA in English, to edit it for me. Needless to say, I got weak in the knees. It was a good move, I mean I basically have a book editor at my disposal.

It was scary BUT he pointed out some MAJOR problems I find myself making consistently in my writing. I have seen these particular struggles come up in other writing groups I frequent as well, so figured writing a post about it would be helpful.

So here it goes!

Head Hopping

This is the ONE mistake that came up constantly in my WIP. Writing a novel with multiple POV (point of views) can sometimes get confusing. I found that I was consistently bouncing from one character to the other without proper breaks like chapters, setting or span of time.ย It’s important to remain constant with which character the focus to help minimize confusion.

As I am going through my edits, I am finding this up all over the place. It’s been a challenge shifting perspectives to make everything succinct to one particular character POV before switching to the next. Now that I know to look for it, I am aware of when it happens in my future writings.

Switching Tenses

Guilty. 100%. When you’re in a writing groove, keeping our tenses consistent sometimes goes out the window. I know this is a major issue for me to be constantly writing in the same tense. There are times when it’s okay to change it up, for example, when bringing up a past event or memory.ย  It confuses the reader as to when events take place and can seriously damage the aesthetics of your storyline.

Bouncing from tense to tense is Writing 101, and apparently, I flunked out of that class. The amount of red marks for all the times I flip-flopped between past and present is deplorable. I’m sure I am not the only one (at least I hope not).

Starting a Sentance with a Noun or Pronoun

We can all fall into the web of he, she, it, and they. Starting a sentence with a noun or pronoun. Every. Single. Time. Can get pretty boring pretty quickly. It can make your writing seem stagnant. Switch it up. Use adjectives or verbs simply by twisting the sentence around (a tip my hubby told me):

They chat briefly with the nurse before being buzzed in through the heavily monitored doors of the ER.

After a brief chat with the nurse, they were buzzed in through the heavily monitored doors of the ER.

Constructing a sentence in this way reads much smoother than 7 consistent sentences of They, She, It, He, etc.

Using the Same Descriptive Words

There is always one word or phrase that pops up over and over again when we write. It can be all within the same paragraph or consistently throughout the book. The last draft I gave to my husband to edit was circle city with the number of times I used the word DARK.

If you find yourself seeing the same words multiple times, highlight them and write them down on a list. Your draft will light up like a Christmas tree. Use resources like Thesaurus.com to find synonyms and definitions to change it up!

So there you have it, my top 4 writing mistakes. What kind of mistakes have you run into?

May Sol’s Light Shine Within You –

signature

2 thoughts on “Most Common Writing Mistakes”

  1. Great tips and I can relate to these mistakes! Iโ€™ll definitely use your suggestion of highlighting common words!

    Like

  2. Past and present tenses are my nemesis too. Like you, my significant other is editing my work and she does a lot of cringing while doing it. She even scolds me quite a bit, asking me, “are you making progressing or going backward?” I guess there are times when my writing style appears worse now than when I started years ago. Sheesh…

    Also, my wife reminds me that I’m writing my story more like a screenplay than an actual novel. Though, she does also tell me that it’s not unreadable or awful…just…different? Ugh, I’m doing my best to fix all that.

    It’s definitely a learning process and the only true way to learn is by doing. When it comes to most things in life, I tend to learn the hard way, otherwise, it just won’t stick with me. Thanks for these tips, I’ll do my best to keep them in mind ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually just realized I used the word “learn” like 3 times in that last paragraph…terrible. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s