This month's topic is: All books go through multiple edits. What have you learned are your problems, and what irks you about editing?
Editing is very important. No writer writes without making mistakes in wording, structure, or punctuation. Even though my books have been edited multiple times, I still find errors in read-throughs. I hate that when the story is already published!
My common mistakes include:
1. Using the wrong name or misspelling the name for a specific character.
2. Misspelled words. I'm a terrible speller, always have been. I am better than I used to be, but spellings change with time too. I really like online dictionaries with a thesaurus, because I can change out some of the words listed in #4.
3. Misplaced commas, periods, and apostrophes. Since I've started writing, I've become better but when I discover them in published books I am frustrated.
4. Repetition of my unconsciously used favorite words. I keep a list now and try to run through the list to see how many of my over-used words show up. Words like remained, just, like, that, there, before, suddenly, however, although, and through, and also 'and then.'
5. Another mistake I've made is misplaced modifiers, like: I found my dog driving my car.
I make other mistakes, those are just my common ones. If you have a critique partner who is very good with grammar, you are lucky, but if not, a good way to discover mistakes is to read the writing aloud.
The digital world is changing this. Many writing programs like MS Word now have grammar help. Word also allows you to keep a separate dictionary for certain writings, which helps. The Grammarly site is also a great new readily available help source. While this free program catches many mistakes in wording and punctuation, it is not always correct, so users have to be careful. It even works on online-writing like this blog.
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Dr. Bob Rich
Hi Rhobin, so much of this echoes with my own experience. Displace modifiers can be a lot of fun of course...ReplyDelete
Fun only when you intend them, but sometimes interesting nevertheless. I think we all has similar viewpoints, but experience is a great teacher.Delete
We seem to have a lot of the same author hangups. Except for spelling - more or less. I used to be the worlds worst speller and I still blame the English language for this. Every other language uses the same pronunciation for their vowels and combinations of letters are always the same. English not so much. We've borrowed so many words from other languages along with their spellings and pronunciations, it's no wonder we're a mess. But I had a teacher in high school that began our first day that year by declaring he'd take off 5 points for every misspelled word. I figured I'd fail, hands down there was no way I'd ever pass when anything below 70 was failing. But he then issued dictionaries and instilled in me the habit of looking it up when I didn't know. To this day, I have a dictionary on my desk and still look words up even with the online dictionaries and word processing.ReplyDelete
I love when writing on a computer where I'm just a few clicks away from online dictionaries.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed your post, Rhobin. Loved "I found my dog driving my car."ReplyDelete
I think we've all written sentences like that. It sounds like we all have some similar writing challenges. I'm also glad you mentioned a couple of digital writing programs.
Rhobin, that's an excellent list of the kinds of mechanical faults we are all subject to. Unconscious favorite words resonate with me. Mine include "Well," and "Now" to start a quoted sentence, and "just" just about anywhere.ReplyDelete
Thank you for listing digital programs. Auto Crit and White Smoke are my go-to-programs but Grammarly looks less labor intensive. I'll give it a try.ReplyDelete
I tried the free intro to Auto Crit but finished up with Grammarly which I like much better. For whatever reason, I was good at spelling and grammar at school - I have an old report card with 20/20 for English studies - but styles change so for me it's now a case of writer beware.ReplyDelete