Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Writing Right

by Connie S. Hall

Not all writers write right. I always find a mistake in the books I read. How do you know who to listen too? Should you look for direction from other writers? Some have written lists about the mistakes writers often make. I found one list that had 35 common mistakes of a writer. Next, I found a list that had over 25 things writers do wrong. The amazing thing was there were few similarities to the lists. The skills’ a writer needs is endless. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to master them all. No two writers have the same idea.

My own experiences have taught me many things. You should be careful you don’t confuse your reader. They will notice when you change tenses in mid-sentence, and may even quit reading when you change points of view without warning. A good rule of thumb is in one scene, use one point of view (POV) character.

You have to care about the reader because they are the one to whom you are telling your story. As a writer, you care about the way you write your story. Structure errors are important and it does matter how you put the story together.

Some new writers don’t think you need to worry about the grammar. They think the only important thing is the story. I think that if you have poor grammar, maybe you should take an English class because grammar does matter.

I’ve read many times that passive voice is the single most common error. More people make this mistake, and make it more often, than any other error in the writing of fiction.

Another problem is with the apostrophe. When in doubt about an apostrophe, leave it out. The omitted apostrophe confuses meaning less often than the needless one does.

So who should you listen to? Which writing mistakes do you look for? Not everyone can be right. If you follow all the rules, you would never finish your story.

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