Writing Techniques: Part IV – Common mistakes in writing

January 16, 2009 in Fantasy, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller

editorYou may recall an earlier post where I lamented the ridiculously low chance of a new writer getting published, let alone making any money out of it.  Well, the reason the percentage of new writers getting published is so low (ie 1-2%) is because frankly, the quality of the vast majority of the stuff being submitted just isn’t up the standard required for publishing.

A lot of that is due to an inadequate grasp of the (English) language, but there are also some common mistakes which will scream “amateur” to agents and publishers alike.  Here’s just a couple of websites I came across:

(1) The Standard Deviations of Writing by Roger McBride Allen;

(2) Editorrr.com’s page on writing tips and techniques.

Both sites deal with a variety of common mistakes new writers such as myself often commit and provide helpful advice on how best to avoid them.  These include the use of passive voice, erroneous perspective, overwriting and so forth.  Both also deal with the issue of flashbacks, as discussed in my last writing techniques post.

This type of advice is usually good, but generally, most of it is only beneficial after the completion of at least a first draft.  It’s just too hard trying to keep all of this stuff in mind when you are trying to write freely.  But it can definitely assist in the process of transforming your manuscript into something that agents and publishers won’t throw straight in the bin (but probably will a few pages later).

For Fantasy Writers

As my novel is fantasy, I thought it would only be right if I added something about common mistakes in fantasy writing.

Here’s an article entitled “How to write fantasy that will absolutely slay the editors“.  Please note that it is a satire, so the point is to not do whatever it says you should.  But if you couldn’t figure that out yourself then no one would be able to help you.