Good morning all. Happy Wednesday. I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve spent most of the time writing bits and pieces to my new shifter story and working on edits for a finished piece that I am 90% happy with. Some further tweaking to do. And leads me to today’s post. Editing and my list of things – my cheat sheet – like bad habits I tend to have in my first draft. A lot of writers would say to nix them, don’t put them in your first draft, but for me the first draft is about getting the story out of my head and onto paper/into the computer. Then I return to it and fix my bad habits. So I put together a short list of the items (polished up and explained) I look out for and always improve, change, polish before submitting it. Again, this is my process and reminders that help me improve the quality of each story.
- Commas: the comma is the most common punctuation mark and the most misused. It’s a tricky one because the rules are lax by many, leaving usage up to style guides and writers’ judgment. In weaker writing, there are too few or too many commas. Be consistent in when using commas and find the right balance.
- Adjectives vs. adverbs: People don’t run quick; they run quickly. The word quick is an adjective; quickly is an adverb.
- Homophones: homophones can be difficult because spell check won’t catch them examples of homophones – they’re/there/their. Complement/compliment,
- Subject-verb agreement: The subject of a sentence needs to match the verb. Example of a common mistake: He have two lizards. The verb have does not go with the subject she. It should be He has two lizards.
- Verb tense: The topic of tense warrants an article of its own (or maybe an entire book). There are multiple tenses beyond past, present, and future, and they are worth knowing. Be especially careful of mixing up simple past tense (We talked for hours) and past perfect tense (We had talked all night).
- Verb tense consistency: A sentence that was originally in perfect past tense is changed to simple past tense, but one of the words in the sentence is overlooked, and you end up with something like He went to the store and had shopped for pasta.
- Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve: many writers seem to think the “ve” in these words means “of.” But it’s short for “have.” These words are contractions for “should have,” “could have,” and “would have,” respectively — NOT “should of,” “could of,” or “would of.”
- Repetitious words – many writers have “crutch” words they use over and over in their stories. Mine are – then, it, that, and, just, damn. I go through the story many times to omit the usages of these that are not necessary.
- Consistency is key: grammar rules don’t cover everything. As a writer, you will constantly be challenged to make sensible decisions about how to construct your sentences and paragraphs. Always be consistent.
The consistency for me is very important. And it’s why I keep my own style guide on file. It is a tremendous help and I learn and grow from it. It also, usually, makes it easier for my editor if I’ve done the majority of the work myself. Which is also quite important. It’s the writer’s job to handle the worse of the issues within their writing before a publisher/acquisitions editor ever lays eyes on it.
Writers should never solely rely on their editors to do what the writer can do themselves.
And let’s not forget, since it’s Hump Day, our Hump Day Hottie this week. Who doesn’t love David Gandy? Enjoy *g*
Until next week,
(pic source: Pinterest)