View Full Version : Comments on common writing mistakes needed for my book

08-28-2008, 01:32 AM
I'd really love to get some comments from writers on common writing mistakes. I welcome any and all comments on mistakes they've caught in their writing, but I definitely need comments on these mistakes:

Irrelevance -- writing that doesn't contribute to the story or passages that were not really essential to the work.

Wordiness -- how have you tamed this beast? What trick do you use to catch it?

Passive writing -- what's a good way to catch it? Have you noticed this happening a lot in your own work? Any advice to writers about it?

Poor fact-checking -- do you have an example of where you did this with your own writing? What happened? Or, do you have an example of where something you read didn't have very good fact-checking?

Insuffiecient information -- were there areas in your writing in which you just glossed over something or instructed a reader on something without defining jargon or explaining terms? What's a good way to watch out for areas where you should elaborate on certain things? Likewise, can you please share where you have seen this happen in things you've read?

I'd really appreciate any and all comments from writers about those writing mistakes. Again, feel free to share your own.

And I just need comments -- there is no Q&A involved.

If you have something to share, please email Dawn at DMCWriter@gmail.com

This is for a writing book I am working on. The above is for just one of the chapters in the book. I will definitely need more quotes as I work on later chapters.

I will only include your name and identify you as a "writer/author/editor."

Thank you! :)

08-28-2008, 02:58 AM
I've found this valuable. Five Fiction Mistakes that Spell Rejection
by Moira Allen
It's rather lengthy so I've provided the link.

08-28-2008, 08:32 AM
Thanks for that! :) Actually, I'm also hunting for books to quote, so it's all good.

ETA: Oh, it's an article. I'll have to see if I can quote her in the book.

08-28-2008, 01:11 PM
Hi there,

My first novels I wrote when I was a kid were filled with passivity. Hey, what did I know. Then, kind Uncle came along and tore apart my work. Then he insisted I buy, "Elements of Style".

I go through my work and make sure it is the subject doing the action.

"He opened the door."
not: "The door was opened for him."

or: it is the subject being discussed: "Emily Bronte was a great writer."

-pretty basic. If I think of other things (once my brain is working properly) I will email you. Good luck with the project! :)

Linda Adams
08-28-2008, 02:44 PM
Repetition. I orginally saw a reference to repeition on Rachel Vater's blog, went back to my manuscript, and started seeing instances of repetition. It's easy to forget something was just said and mention it again later on, almost exactly the same way without presenting any new information. Sometimes it's just a sentence that gets overused, like repeating to the reader that it's cold or it's raining. But it can also turn up as a entire scenes. I just recently critted something where an action scene happened in the first chapter, and the next ten were spent with the character recounting the events of the scene seven more times.

Relying on movies for research, experience, or storylines. I see this one a lot, particularly from young adult writers. It's not uncommon to see a story that reads like a film off the Science Fiction Channel or unrealistic action scenes that sound like movie stunts. Hollywood tends to use cliches to create instant images. Stunts are carefully filmed with the help of wires, editing, camera angles, and computer magic to be eyepopping. I just saw an article on how marriage is misrepresented consistently in movies to be boring and infedelity played up as exciting.

08-28-2008, 06:39 PM
Thank you so much! :) Very helpful.

Gypsy: Yes, please do email me if you can think of anything else. (And thank you for your help on my blog, BTW! I will be responding soon. I'm sorry for the delay!)

Linda: It's interesting you mention the blog thing. I can relate. Before I submitted my manuscript to an editor, I was checking out her blog. She posted a rant about the overuse of "he/she wondered" in a story. I went over mine and found "he wondered" or "she wondered" all over the place! EEK! I went back and fixed it. Maybe that's what helped ensure I didn't get a rejection. :D

Kathie Freeman
08-29-2008, 08:59 PM
I once ran an Amazon concordance search on my book, and according to it the most frequently used word was "down", over 900 times in 356 pages. Wow!