Conventional journalism mistakes - characters
Most books aren't cast off since the stories are "bad. " They're cast off as they're not "ready to read. " In short, minor stuff like typos, grammar, spelling, etc.
I don't mean chairs where we, as authors, deliberately break the rules. Those are fine. That's part of our job. Foreign language constantly changes with use, and we can help it on its way. No, I'm referring to places where a big cheese just plain didn't learn the rule or got bewildered or overlooked it for the duration of the self-edits.
I in progress control novels in 2001. Looking back at my experiences, I feel like allotment the most common mistakes I've seen. If you'll go all through your manuscript and fix these ahead of you accept it to a publisher, your odds of journal will increase dramatically.
Once you've found a publisher who publishes what you write, you want to acquaint with manually in the best way possible. Submitting an unedited text is a bit like going to a job interview dressed in a purple Mohawk, no shoes, torn jeans, and a dirty T-shirt. Your resume may be perfect, and your qualifications impeccable, but a touch tells me you won't get the job.
The publisher is investing a lot in every book it accepts. E-publishers tend to invest loads of time, and print publishers tend to invest an advertising budget and the cost of shipping an inventory. Why ask them to invest hours and days of control time as well? If the publisher gets two or three or ten nearly identical books, you want yours to be the one requiring the least editing.
The first thing you need to do, and I hope you've already done it, is use the spelling and grammar checkers in your word processor. This will catch many of the "common mistakes" on my list. But I've been asked to edit many books where the dramatist obviously didn't do this, and I confess that I may well have been lazy and let a duo of mine get to my editors unchecked. Bad Michael!
Here's a list of the mistakes I see most often.
* Dialogue where each one speaks in complete English and never violates any of the bullet points below. Okay, I made that up. That's not especially a common problem at all. But I have seen it, and it's a terrible thing.
* It's is a ellipsis for "it is" and its is possessive.
* Who's is a narrowing for "who is" and whose is possessive.
* You're is a convulsion for "you are" and your is possessive.
* They're is a convulsion for "they are," there is a place, their is possessive.
* There's is a convulsion for "there is" and theirs is possessive.
* If you've been paying consideration to the above examples, you've noticed that controlling pronouns never use apostrophes. Its, whose, your, yours, their, theirs. . .
* Let's is a convulsion for "let us. "
* When building a word plural by adding together an s, don't use an apostrophe. (The cats are asleep. )
* When assembly a word controlling by adding up an s, use an apostrophe. (The cat's bowl is empty. )
* A bath is a noun, what you take. Bathe is a verb, the accomplishment you do when attractive or bountiful a bath.
* A breath is a noun, what you take. Breathe is a verb, the battle you do when captivating a breath.
* You wear clothes. When you put them on, you clothe yourself. They are made of cloth.
* At any time you read a decree with the word "that," ask by hand if you can obliterate that word and still achieve clarity. If so, kill it. The same can be said of all sentences. If you can cross out a word without changing the gist or sacrificing clarity, do it. "And then" is a express worth using your word processor's examination appear to look for.
* Keep an eye on verb tenses. "He pulled the pin and throws the grenade" is not a good sentence.
* Keep an eye on assembly the lot agree regarding singular and plural. "My cat and my wife is sleeping," "My cat sleep on the sofa," and "My wife is a attractive women" are not good sentences. (I exaggerate in these examples, but you know what I mean. )
* I and me, he and him, etc. I hope no editor is rejecting any novels for this one, since I suspect that most ancestors get bewildered at times. In dialogue, do anything the heck you want for the reason that it sounds more "natural. " But for the sake of your narrative, I'll try to clarify the rule and the cheat. The rule involves calculating whether your pronoun is the subject or object. When Jim Morrison of The Doors sings, "til the stars fall from the sky for you and I," he's making a good rhyme but he's using bad grammar. According to the rule, "you and I" is the be against of the preposition "for," thus it ought to be "for you and me. " The cheat involves pretending "you and" isn't there, and just mechanically calculating "for I" just doesn't sound right. (I think only native English speakers can use my cheat. For the record, I have great admiration for authors journalism in languages that aren't their native tongues. )
* Ought to of, would of, could of. This one can make me throw things. It's wrong! What you mean is should have, would have, could have. Or maybe you mean the contractions. Should've, would've, could've. And maybe 've sounds a bit like of. But it's not! Of is not a verb. Not now, not ever.
* More, shorter sentences are better. Always. Don't ask a distinct judgment to do too much work or advance the battle too much, for the reason that then you've got lots of words scattered about like "that" and "however" and "because" and "or" and "as" and "and" and "while," much like this considerably pathetic apology for a sentence right here.
* On a alike (exaggerated) note: "He laughed a wicked laugh as he kicked Ralphie in the face while he aimed the gun at Lerod and pulled the trigger and then laughed maniacally as Lerod twisted in agony because of the bullet that burned all the way through his face and splattered his brains adjacent to the wall and made the wall look like an scalded lasagne or an abstract painting. " Now tell me this decree isn't trying to do too much.
* Too means also, two is a number, to is a preposition.
* He said/she said. Use those only when de rigueur to establish who's speaking. They distract the reader, pulling him out of the story and saying, "Hey look, you're comprehension a book. " Ideally, inside the context of the dialogue, we know who's chatting just by the style or the ideas. When a new amp arrives on the scene, categorize him or her immediately. Ahead of that, keep it to a minimum. Oh yeah, and give every speaker his/her own paragraph.
* Billy-Bob smiled his most attractive smile and said, "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" I don't like this. Use two shorter sentences in the same paragraph. Billy-Bob smiled his most winning smile. "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" Same effect, fewer words, no dialogue tag (he said).
* In the prior example, I don't like "smiled his most attractive smile," since it's outmoded and also cliched. Please, if you find manually writing something like that, try to find a advance way to express it ahead of you just give up and leave it like it is. At some stage in the self-edit, I mean, not all through the initial writing.
* "The glow-in-the-dark poster of Jesus glowed in the dark. " This editor won't let that one go. Much too redundant, and it appeared in a available novel.
* Lie is what you do when you lie down on the bed, lay is what you do to a different be against that you lay on the table. Just to bamboozle matters, the past tense of lie is lay. Every time I hit a lay/lie word in reading, I stop and think. Do that when you self-edit. (Note: Don't fix this one in dialogue if your character is quite well-educated, since most ancestors say it wrong. I do. )
* Beware of the floppy modifier. "Rushing into the room, the exploding bombs dropped seven of the soldiers. " Wait a minute! The bombs didn't rush into the room. The soldiers did. To get all technical about it, the first part is the "dependent clause," and it must have the same area under discussion as the "independent clause" which follows. Or else it's amateur, distracting, and a real pain for your poor overworked editor.
* If you are able (many readers are not), keep an eye out for lost periods, weird commas, closing quotes, breach quotes, etc. When I read a book, be it an ebook or a in black and white book, I can't help but spot every free one that's missing. They slap me upside the head, which makes me a great editor but a lousy reader. If you're like me, use that to your advantage. If not, that's what editors are for!
Copyright 2005, Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca's website at http://www. chinarice. org was chosen by WRITER'S DIGEST as one of The 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2001 and 2002. His comeback was to throw it out and start over again for the reason that he's insane. He teaches English at a academia in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, and publishes the free weekly newsletter WHO MOVED MY RICE?
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