Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Writing Blunders

Even after a year of learning the craft, I still find myself making the same mistakes over and over. I've just reached the editing stage of my manuscript (the part I consider the least fun and now I know why!) and have realised that I'm making the same mistakes I did back when I started, even though I know I shouldn't write this way. *head desk*

Here are the top no, nos which keep finding their way into my writing:-

  1. Overusing words like 'that' and 'which'. Reading back over my ms, I know that I can delete most of them. So why put them there in the first place? Mind boggling.
  2. Your verses you're. Seriously, I do know the difference and yet from this ms you couldn't tell!
  3. Extremely long sentences when two or even three would be punchier. I seem to shorten sentences on the lead up to tension, but for the rest of the time I can cut them down. Lets face it, no one wants to read a sentence which could qualify for a paragraph with so many commas the reader (and me) get lost.
  4. Past tense verses present tense. This is something I've only recently learned how to spot. Before, I'd write sentences which included both and I couldn't for the life of me tell the difference. I'm getting there, but it is something I need to watch out for. The easiest way for me to remember (and I'm putting it in simple terms here) is, you can't have a doing word in a sentence which includes the words had, went, done, etc. Although there are many other rules, but I'm still learning :o)
  5. Its verses It's. You use it's when you are saying it is. Its the rest of the time.
  6. Overuse of expressions like barely, a little and big. I keep telling myself to 'mix it up' or 'be specific' but I've gotten into such a habit writing things like this its hard to break. I suppose that's why we edit :o)
  7. Rambling or repeating. I don't do this so much anymore (give or take the odd word repetition in the same paragraph), but some have still found their way into this story. Glad I'm over on my word count 'cause my delete key is getting a serious work out!
  8. Last, but by no means least, having the reaction before the action. E.g. 'Protagonist' burst into fits of giggles at his joke. Whereas in reality the situation would be reversed.
What are the common mistakes you make when writing?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A Ramble, A Review and a Competition...

Time seems to be flying by in almost a blur. I've been typing away like a mad woman trying to make progress with my revised manuscript (almost at 30k, yey!) as well as working far too many hours. Plus, I've just read The Good, The Bad and the Wild by Heidi Rice.

Since Heidi was lovely enough to mail this book to me, I thought I'd do a review of it. Now, I've never really reviewed a book before so please bear with me!

As with all of Heidi's books, The Good, The Bad and The Wild has a great combination of humour, sass and emotion. I literally could not put it down and would recommend it to absolutely everyone!

The blurb:

One of the good guys?
Nick Delisantro is famous - for his scripts, for his looks and above all for his ruthless bad-boy charm. Eva, on the other hand, has spent her life being an overlooked wallflower! Now she's got to meet with Mr Tall, Dark and Brooding or her only chance of a promotion is over...
Nick can't stop staring a the mysterious blushing girl who's dressed like a vixen but frozen under his gaze like a rabbit in headlights...He can't wait to see what's behind that innocent front! But Nick's about to get far more than he'd bargained for - not only does Eva have the key to his secret past, but there's nothing more dangerously addictive than a good girl going wild...

This book takes you from the US through London and straight to Italy where flirting, passion and arguments come in spadefuls! I don't want to give too much away, but I will say this, The Good, The Bad and The Wild not only made me laugh in every chapter, but it was also sexy and heartwarming. All in all, a feel good read.

Oh and in other news, one of my CP's, Amy aka The Literary Mom, is giving away a free critique and edit of your first chapter. All you have to do is follow her blog, and then send her an email. She's picking the winner next Friday. Amy is a brilliant critiquer and also has superb grammar skills. Good luck to all who enter.


Friday, 3 February 2012

Re-writing - seriously, it's not as scary as it sounds...

I've been busy the last month; the day job, the night job and the gym in keeping with my new years resolutions. And then it came, a rejection from an editor on my New Voices entry, filled with advice, and I absolutely agreed with everything she said. I took this rejection as exactly that, a rejection with feedback, but was encouraged from my friends on Eharl that it was in fact a revise and resubmit. It was terrifying.

So on I went, rewriting the story and changing it to what I hope reflected the editor's feedback and have sent the re-written three chapters off to my CP's, only realising now that if I do submit the partial, I have the rest of the story to write. What if by some miracle she requests the full? The advice on the boards was that I should sub anyway, but seriously, it's to an editor and that scares the bejesus out of me.

Still, I know my story is stronger, written better and feel like it does have a chance. Re-writing has made everything clearer and rather than detest the fact I'm writing it again, I'm actually enjoying improving it and making the story better. Still, I'm terrified to hit send.

Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how on earth do you manage to cope?