During your first draft it is easy to fall into the tropes of sticky sentences, bad grammar etc.. As writers, we should be an editor to adjust, chop and expand on our characters, plot and settings, especially if we plan to self-publish – if not, producing a quality manuscript to send to an agent or publisher, you will need to be your own editor.
There are six common writing habits in manuscripts and here’s how to avoid them.
#1: Dialogue attributions. Make “said” your friend, rather than whispered or bellowed. Sometimes synonyms can jolt the reader and stop the flow of dialogue.
#2: Using italics for emphasis. Let your words do the talking, not bold, underline, or italics. Trust your reader’s ability to know and understand the emphasis. It can work sometimes but keep it to a minimum.
#3: Switching your point of view. Bouncing around from character to character without changing scene can be confusing to your readers. Make clear scene cuts with name use.
#4: Adjectives and adverbs are the death of good writing. Pick strong, active verbs and cut the modifier (-ly).
#5: Using big and fancy words to show off. Aim for writing that is clear and simple, with language that is appropriate for your audience and the context in which you’re writing. Look at the Purple Prose post.
#6: Overly pretentious character names or places. Establishing a character or place as being from a different time and space is fundamental to your story, but don’t go overboard with names that are difficult to type out and even more difficult to pronounce.
Do you think a writer should be an editor?
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