Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Questions from Readers, Mistakes (Part 1 of 12)

Mistakes Beginning Writers Make

Linda Rodante says, “I see a need for a general help for newbies.” She suggested what not to do to avoid sounding like beginners. Here are my suggestions, and I’m sure there are more.

1. Novice writers don’t know who they are and what they want to write. Serious writers learn about themselves as they write, frequently examining their motivation. They may try several topics and genres, but they don’t seem to realize the areas where they have the experience, interest, and knowledge. Too often, they write on something that’s popular or what they think will sell.

Unless writing comes from the inner person, it’s not authentic writing and too few tyros understand that.

2. Novice writers don’t know grammar and punctuation and won't learn. “English wasn’t a good subject of mine,” they say, and do nothing to correct it. The worst response I’ve heard is, “The editor can fix that. Isn’t that what she gets paid to do?”

Professionals of all types know their tools, and part of being a professional writer is to work on grammar. Or if they just can’t get it, they can hire editors to go through their manuscripts before they try to sell them.

Writers are expected to know the difference between “there, their, they’re,” “to, two, too,” “it’s, its,” and “your, you’re.” These fundamentals were taught in grade school.

3. Beginning writers’ manuscripts are filled with typos. All writers make typos, but the pros don’t submit sloppy work. The manuscripts reflect the writers, and it’s easy for publishing houses to reject such error-filled prose. Why buy lousy work when there are so many good writers to choose from?

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