Tuesday 24 March 2015

Self-Editing Tips for Writers: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls

As some of you may know, as well as being a writer (paranormal, fantasy and M/M), I am also a freelance editor and proofreader. Combining those two professions, I thought I would share with you a few notes on what I believe to be five of the common writing pitfalls. Knowing these little facts and tricks will help you improve your writing before you submit manuscripts. Fixing issues ahead of submission and/or professional editing will make things a lot easier for you in the long run and will improve your chances of publication. So, without further ado, let's move to point one....

1) Common Word Confusions
There are some words that authors make mistakes over on a regular basis. Here are a the two I see most often:

Further vs Farther: Just remember that further essentially means 'additional' whereas farther indicates distance. e.g. I asked him to send further information BUT He still had farther to go

Lie vs Lay: Just remember it is only lay if there is an indirect object involved. e.g. She lay the book upon the table BUT She lie down on the bed

2) Random Body Parts
Just remember when you write that body parts cannot perform actions independently of their owner. e.g. His fingers ran through her hair - SHOULD BE - He ran his fingers through her hair

3) Repetition & Consistency
When you write watch out for repeated words, and in paragraphs where you find the same word used several times, try to replace one or two of them with synonyms to keep your writing interesting.

The flip side of this is consistency. If your heroine has blonde hair on page one, don't make her a brunette by chapter five. Writing character profiles will help with this as it will give you a quick reference point to refer back to if needed.

4) Word Choices/Suitability
This is particularly relevant if you are writing a novel with an historical setting. Don't use terms, especially in dialogue, that would not have been understood in that period. Here a little bit of research prior to writing will pay dividends.

5) POV
Keep your POV clear to the reader at all times. If you are using multiple third person POVs, make sure the transition between each is clearly marked so the reader can always tell whose head they are in at any given time.

Happy writing one and all!

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