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Common mistakes authors should watch out for
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TOPIC: Common mistakes authors should watch out for
#113457
Philosophy Blue
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Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 3
Hi there, fellow Dokugans! With all the new stories being posted on this wonderful site, I've decided to make a humble post listing the various slips in writing that grate on everyone's nerves. Please do not be offended by this thread, versions of which I am sure are out there. I mean this only as constructive criticism and seek to help aspiring authors, as well as save time from posting a review to every single story repeating the same thing. Let's get started!

The first one, especially on this adult site, would be bare vs. bear. More often than not, authors will incorrectly write that Kagome will bare Sesshomaru a heir. This one is confusing, but yes, it is in fact 'bear' in that context, not 'bare.' But you don't have to take my word for it; a quick Google search will do. You don't know how many amazing stories I find make this very common mistake.

Next: Important Mistakes. I hate to be a grammar Nazi, but I confess that I do not click on stories on the homepage if the title and/or summary have any spelling or grammatical mistakes. I take this as an omen that the story itself, while it may be quite good, will be riddled with mistakes as well. So if one desires more readers, it takes a simple spell check or peer edit to make sure your title and summary are good representatives of your great story.

Third: odd switches in tense. These are really tricky, and often you have to feel them out with your gut.
Sesshomaru smirked at the sight of the Miko nuzzling her kit. She will be a good mother for his pups.
The problem is with the word 'will.' It sounds completely natural, and would be the first choice of many. However, the right word in that context is 'would.'


Lastly, punctuation marks within quotations. Normally, these are taken care of quite well, but it can be off-putting to the reader when the author misses one. Please remember to put punctuation marks inside every pair of quotation marks, such as:
"Go away" cried Kagome.
A comma or an exclamation point would work well. And in the same category; if the dialogue is not ending a sentence, please do not punctuate it with a period.
"Go away." cried Kagome. It breaks the flow of the sentence.

Of course, these are only a fraction of all the mistakes made by authors--a fair percentage of which I am guilty myself. Please remember, I am not trying to act as if I know better than anyone. I hope this has helped some of you, and if any of you have any other burning pet peeves, feel free to add on to this thread! The goal is to help authors on this site achieve the best of their abilities with their work.

Cheers!

Philosophy Blue
 
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#113458
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 52
That's not criticism. It's all good advice.

I think the most common errors are a lack of full stops ending sentences. Lack of proper capitalisation for the start of sentences, names, and place names. Spelling isn't too bad, but misuse of words in terms of meanings is common.

Like the Bear.vs Bare or Its vs. It's, or Bemused vs. Amused, and Discreet vs. Discrete.

Other errors include run-on sentences without fullstops, excessive use of commas, lack of speech marks to indicate dialouge (which can also indicate a lack of proper paragraphing too), and a lack of apostrophe's to show posessives or plurals.

The incorrect use of direct address, especially for the use of commas, is another error, especially when one character is talking to another. I've too often seen this:

"Hey Inuyasha". When it should be this - "Hey, Inuyasha". A comma should come before the name or word identifying the person a character is talking too. Which could also be like this: "Hey, Dude", or "Hey, Babe!"

These are the ones I've mostly seen, even in my own writing, when I take off real fast and write like crazy without seeing what I've written until later when I proofread.

~ Pyre
 
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Last Edit: 2017/01/30 22:05 By Pyre.
 
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#113459
cassandra
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 10
Here's one that always irritates me. Does It bother anybody else when they read in the summary of a story that the author themselves have said not to read it because it is terrible? I mean, why would anyone write a story and then tell people not to read it? Kinda dumb if you ask me. Sorry grammar people, I'm sure I made some grammar mistakes here. Lol!
 
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#113460
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 52
cassandra wrote:
Here's one that always irritates me. Does It bother anybody else when they read in the summary of a story that the author themselves have said not to read it because it is terrible? I mean, why would anyone write a story and then tell people not to read it? Kinda dumb if you ask me. Sorry grammar people, I'm sure I made some grammar mistakes here. Lol!

Oh yeah. T___T. It's probably the saddest thing that. 'Don't read my story 'cause its terrible'. Been there, and skipped the summaries that have something negative about the story inside it. If the author thinks their work is terrible, it must be terrible, so I don't bother reading it.

That can happen in Author's Notes too at the beginning of chapters.

~ Pyre
 
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#113462
Fubuki
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 89
My bug bear as a reader, is tense, and spelling, and sometimes, shorthand
1) he drug his claws through the rock?
he DRAGGED his claws through the rock
2) then instead of than

3) shorthand m8, or text talk. i just wont read it

and before any one bites, I am aware that some writers have english as a second, or third language, sometimes that makes it more interesting
Rosemarie
 
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#113463
inali
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 30
The most cringeworthy grammatical error for me is when the author fails to separate dialogue between characters into different paragraphs. It can make the conversation very confusing and muddled. It's also an easy fix.

Keeping continuity consistent, refraining from over explaining each characters thoughts, feelings, and conjectures. As too much internalized conjecture disrupts the overall flow of the narrative. There's been times (and I'm also referring to published novels with all of this), where I've actually lost track of a storyline because the author was too busy explaining everyone's feelings after nearly every line of dialogue. Which just leads to info-dumps, in general, as they can come across as overwhelming. All of which can be avoided with pre-writing prep work, and proofreading after.
 
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Last Edit: 2017/01/31 00:46 By inali.
 
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#113465
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 3 Weeks ago Karma: 22
I try to give most stories that have such errors a fair chance. It's interesting to see how many stories with extremely poor grammar and lack of formatting are very popular among readers despite their faults. However, I do believe that sometimes plot triumphs over formatting/grammar. Sadly, I haven't seen many such cases. Usually, I give up because I just can't follow the story if it has too many mistakes of this nature.

My favorite (and most amusing) errors to see are:
-"Waste" instead of "waist"
-Two or even three people speaking in the same paragraph
-Writers who use a thesaurus but clearly don't understand the proper usage of the words they pick out

I say "amusing" here not as an insult, but as truth. I get a good chuckle out of seeing things like this because none of us are perfect, and I'm 200% certain that I've made many errors myself while growing as a writer. I still make errors sometimes with sentence structure or other things that make me facepalm after several proofreads. I'm also notorious for typing way too fast, and now that I have a MacBook, the autocorrect messes with my words without my knowledge sometimes.

If I had to give my own advice to other writers, I would say:
-Proofread: It makes a huge difference. I personally don't post until my fourth or fifth draft, and even then I still find little typos here or there.
-Give it a day or two: Clear your mind and come back to your chapter after taking some time away from it. You'll get a surprisingly fresh perspective of your work.
-Read your story out loud: Whether it's for yourself or someone else, reading out loud can help pinpoint typos and errors. Doing so can also help you "hear" the rhythms and flows of your work.
-Create an outline: I can't encourage this enough. Creating an outline for your entire story (along with each chapter) will help you structure your work and stick to your guns rather than running off on tangents.
-Read and review other writers' works: This will be seen as controversial by many. However, just like any art, writing requires practice and guidance. Studying the works of published authors and authors you respect or admire will help you grow. Reviewing things you read helps you notice elements you may not have seen before in your own writing, and it will definitely help you pay more attention to what you are doing right and what you might need more practice with.
-Take it scene by scene: Some writers believe that there should be only one scene per chapter. I've seen as many as three in some novels I've read. The most important thing to remember is to write scene by scene, considering the beginning, middle, and end of each of them. It doesn't matter how many you choose to have in a chapter as long as they are well-structured and concise, fitting together with the other scenes in your chapter to enhance its themes and momentum.
 
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#113477
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 2 Weeks ago Karma: 3
And something else that does bother some people, although others like it, is over-embellishing. Imagery is excellent and vital to a good story; however, there is a point where one must say that enough is enough. For example:

The curvy miko sat down slowly on the weathered rock, her shapely limbs bending easily. Her onyx tresses flowed heavily down her back in rippling waves, glinting with sapphire tints, and her porcelain skin accentuated the darkness of her hair. Her traditional miko fluttered slightly in the wind, like the sails of a virgin ship catching the first breeze. Her cerulean orbs flashed in the dusk, framed with long, heavy lashes that batted like butterfly wings. Her lips were flushed and pink, glistening slightly like rose petals with the morning dew. Eventually, she spoke, and her teeth flashed like bright pearls as words slid like silk from between those cupid lips.

I mean, nice vocabulary and all, and wow, nice description, but... I mean, we're here for the story. More dialogue is always a good thing, and honestly, just a 'dark hair' and 'blue eyes' would do. None of this 'flashing orbs of azure blue' stuff. I admit, I get detailed in my own works, but what I wrote above is just... It's like being choked under a mountain of flowers.
 
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#113478
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 2 Weeks ago Karma: 52
I agree with the wordiness and over-description. Although I think it's less over-exaggeration with details and more a lack of practise writing with conciseness.

Sometimes it's really hard to knock a paragraph down to its bare bones and still have enough description in it to show what's going on.

It can help thicken your skin though if you do this with your own writing.

Self-proofing is a good way before you get a beta in to read the edit over and make more changes if neccessary. Heck you can debate over the cut stuff that should go back in too.

~ Pyre
 
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#113487
Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 2 Weeks ago Karma: 5
Philosophy Blue wrote:
And something else that does bother some people, although others like it, is over-embellishing. Imagery is excellent and vital to a good story; however, there is a point where one must say that enough is enough.

The curvy miko sat down slowly on the weathered rock, her shapely limbs bending easily. Her onyx tresses flowed heavily down her back in rippling waves, glinting with sapphire tints, and her porcelain skin accentuated the darkness of her hair. Her traditional miko fluttered slightly in the wind, like the sails of a virgin ship catching the first breeze. Her cerulean orbs flashed in the dusk, framed with long, heavy lashes that batted like butterfly wings. Her lips were flushed and pink, glistening slightly like rose petals with the morning dew. Eventually, she spoke, and her teeth flashed like bright pearls as words slid like silk from between those cupid lips.

I mean, nice vocabulary and all, and wow, nice description, but... I mean, we're here for the story. More dialogue is always a good thing, and honestly, just a 'dark hair' and 'blue eyes' would do. None of this 'flashing orbs of azure blue' stuff. I admit, I get detailed in my own works, but what I wrote above is just... It's like being choked under a mountain of flowers.


I agree with what you've stated above, to a degree. The passage you've described/written/quoted indeed has quite of a bit of "imagery", though the mistake there specifically isn't overuse of said imagery so much as what some of what us editors label "abstraction" (using five words where one would do). This is the mistake many writers make when trying to sound "fancy". They seek to give their writing flare and "style" when really all they do is muddle the meaning of their message.

I believe what many writers label "imagery" is a misinterpretation of the word. Imagery itself is, as you've mentioned Pyreite, essential to a story. But it isn't just descriptions we are going for when using it. In fact, the above (passage) is only guilty of using too many adjectives and adverbs, a sort of "gluttony" for words. These descriptions do lend to greater detail, but it's empty detail. None of the words help me (as the reader) feel anything.

Imagery itself is much more than description. It is a tool authors can use to solidify the major and minor themes of their work. If a scene deals with a character caught up in a rush of powerful negative emotion, the writer can (and should) use some imagery to help set the mood and perhaps (dare we editors hope?) foreshadow further events and set up symbolic meaning.

In conclusion, though I agree with the message you were making in your post, I wanted to clarify that "imagery" has more than one meaning and certainly many different uses. Saying that overusing "imagery" is bad felt a little bit vague to me, personally, because I felt you might be putting "overuse of description" under the same category as the element of imagery itself.

I believe the essence of imagery is more than adjectives, adverbs, and nouns. It's something that takes writers quite some time to master, and it isn't just novices or fairly experienced writers who struggle with the concept. I've seen manuscripts from published authors sent my way that have made me scratch my head in bewilderment.

Good luck, fellow writers! Thank you for allowing me to add a bit of my personal feelings on the matter to this topic. Always a pleasure reading these sorts of forum topics (though I do apologize for being so wordy in my replies).

-Thief
 
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Last Edit: 2017/02/04 01:47 By unfashionable_thief.
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#113491
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Re:Common mistakes authors should watch out for 1 Month, 2 Weeks ago Karma: 0
Hello, everyone! I'm new to Dokuga. I saw this thread on the home page and ended up spending some time reading it.
Thank you for all the great tips!
 
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