Tag Archives: writing software

10 Common Writing Mistakes You Should Look out For

10 Common Writing Mistakes You Should Look out For

As a writer you want your work to stand out, To shine above its contemporaries. But this is easier said than done. This is because writing is a very complex and multifaceted art form.

There are so many ways that you can make your work great. There are also so many ways that you can make a mistake.

And with writing this can be very unfortunate because readers are quite finicky about mistakes. And this could damage your chances of getting readers in the future.

Which is why it is very important that your work is free of any mistakes. Be they grammatical or story wise.

Here are 10 common writing mistakes that you should really look out for and how to correct them.

1. Unfocused sentence composition

One of the most common mistakes committed by some writers is that their work tends to lose focus as the sentence goes on. This is usually committed during the middle of the sentence.

The starting sentence is on track with the main topic then as the paragraph continues the focus tends to veer from the main topic and becomes jumbled and distorted.

This usually happens when the writer wants to put too much content but does not take the time to fully explain every aspect of the sentence.

How to correct this:

Make your writing quick and concise. Making your work too superfluous would only make your work look unprofessional and cause you to veer off track.

Be straight to the point and avoid overly complicated sentence compositions. Flowery prose will only muck up your work and confuse the reader.

2. Misspelled words

This is by far one of the most embarrassing mistakes for any writer. With a lot of writing software nowadays having spellcheck features it is a very embarrassing thing to go through as a writer.

Sadly though this still remains the most common writing mistake committed by writers. This is mostly due to carelessness and the work being rushed.

How to correct this:

This is by far the easiest to correct. You should just double check your work every time you finish writing a sentence.

Although it is tempting to rely mostly on spellcheck you should at least have a secondary reference to check from. This could be an old fashioned dictionary or you can run a spell check through the internet just to make sure.

3. Wrong usage of words

This can be anything. You could have used compliment instead of complement while writing a letter to your boss or used adverse instead of averse in a term paper.

Whatever word you may have used they still have the same effect of making your work sound unprofessional and poorly written.

How to correct this:

Usually the reason why this mistake is committed in the first place is the fact that they sound alike and are almost spelled alike.

Thus with these types of words you will have to be wary and double check which ones are which. You can check a dictionary or better yet check it through the internet.

4. Overly long sentences

The use of overly long sentences is another example of mistakes committed by writers. They usually consist of sentences that contain too much information and end up convoluted and confusing. This mistake can be due to two reasons.

One reason is that the writer is trying to convey too much information to the reader but lacks the proper writing skills to properly write about it.

And the other reason is that the writers work lacks content and the author is trying to make the sentences longer with just filler words to cover it up.

How to correct this:

You should remember that it does not matter how long your sentences are. If your work lacks substance no amount of filler sentences will change that. Practice your writing style any chance you get. Practice is truly the only way to remedy this shortcoming.

5. Use of weak qualifiers

Using halfhearted words such as a little and almost weakens your sentence composition. It lessens the message of your writing and gives off a halfhearted feel to it.

This is detrimental to the sentence prose because it unconsciously stains your prose with timidity and lowers your credibility.

How to correct this:

When you write always remember that you are trying to convince readers that your book is worth reading.

Thus you should avoid using weak qualifiers because this make your prose sound weak and unconvincing. Try to make your prose sound strong and sure. This will make readers believe in your work.

6. Use of run on sentences

A run on sentence occurs when two independent clauses are connected improperly. Run on sentences usually contain too many ideas without proper punctuation.

Some writers make this mistake because they tend to forget proper punctuation use.

How to correct this:

You can correct a run-on sentence by connecting or separating its parts correctly. You can do this by adding a period and splitting the run on sentence into smaller sentences.

A semi-colon can also be added to intersect between two independent clauses to make the sentence a correct one.

You can also use a comma paired with a coordinating conjunction and subordinating conjunctions to make the sentence more grammatically correct.

7. Sentence fragments

Sentence fragments are a string of words that do not form a complete sentence. The missing part may be a predicate or a subject or when a sentence does not express a complete idea.

How to correct this:

The key to correcting sentence fragments is through revision. The important part of revising a sentence fragment is by distinguishing what is missing from the sentence.

Is it missing a subject? A verb? Is it a leftover phrase? An abandoned clause? Once you have identified what is missing you can revise it by adding what is missing or rewrite the whole sentence to make it more grammatically correct.

8. Improper use of Apostrophes

Apostrophes can be the bane of some writers. What may seem simple and easy to do for some is excruciating for others. But this mistake is one of the easiest to correct.

How to correct this:

The first thing you should understand is that the apostrophe is used for a reason. It is to either indicate a possession or a contraction. The only time that you don’t use an apostrophe is when the word used is plural.

9. Incomplete comparisons

This mistake entails the writer creating a sentence that compares something to nothing. For example you say that a boxer is faster, stronger, and quicker. But you don’t specify who he is better than. This could really frustrate readers because the sentence just sounds incomplete and awkward.

How to correct this:

The solution to this problem is pretty easy. Always make sure when you are comparing something to something else always state what that something is. This will save you from a lot of confusion.

10. Awkward sentence construction

These types of sentences are sentences that are confusing and difficult to read. Awkward sentences can usually be identified by certain characteristics.

These characteristics usually range from being too wordy, repetitive or having dangling modifiers. These factors tend to make the sentence appear nonsensical and can cause readers to judge that the book is badly written.

How to correct this:

If you think your sentence composition is awkward you should try to read it aloud. It is well known that you are more likely to spot a grammatical error if you read it aloud to yourself.

Another method is to minimize the number of words used. This will make the sentence more quick and concise.

One thing you should always remember when you write is to slow down. It is better to do things slow and steady and get the job done right. Rather than doing it fast and making mistakes in the long run.

20 Ways to Make Book Editing Easier

20 Ways to Make Book Editing Easier

Being a writer can be pretty overwhelming. Especially if you are a self-published writer. Being self-published you are expected to do technically everything. Not only that you are expected to shoulder all the expenses of having your book published.

If you have the ample funds all’s well and good then. But what if you don’t have the extra money to pay for all the publishing expenses. Foremost among these expenses is hiring people to edit your book. With the usual price going as high as $50 an hour having your book professionally edited can be pretty pricey.

Which is why it is a very good idea to self-edit your book. True if you do a bad job, it might hurt your book’s chances of being sold. But who’s to say that you can’t do a good job. A good many writers do their own book editing and have had no problems. Here are some 20 easy to follow tips on how to edit your own book.

1. Don’t rush the process

One of the biggest mistakes you can ever do if you edit your own book is to rush the process. Book editing takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to do the usual grammar checks on the book. You also have to make sure that your work makes sense. Which is why when you finish your work don’t immediately rush to edit your work. Take a rest, go out and have a change of scenery.

Take a week off and go on a short trip. Just as long as you change your routine. You may not notice it at first but after finishing a book, you are most likely suffering from mental fatigue. And to start on them immediately won’t do you any favors. You will inevitably make mistakes because you are not fully prepared for the process.

2. Have family and friends read your work

The best thing about writing your own book is that it can be a family event. Having family and friends read your work can help you gain a whole new perspective on your work. One of the setbacks of editing your book is that you might have a narrow outlook on the story.

Which is why it is a good idea to have someone who is not fully invested look at your work. By having someone else read your work, you can have an unbiased response and make the necessary changes.

3. Eliminate overused words

One of the most common mistakes done by writers is that they tend to overuse certain words. Consider them as your favorite words and although there is technically no limit on the use of certain words it can be quite annoying for readers if they have to see the same word in every sentence.

The type of book writing software that you use is also a factor because they have different functions that can help you locate overused words. Two great examples is Scrivener and Microsoft word. If you are using Scrivener there is a function wherein you can see the frequency with which you use words. Microsoft word also has a free Word Usage and Frequency add in that makes it even more efficient.

4. Be consistent in your spell checks and grammar lapses

Although most book writing software already come equipped with a spell check function, it always pays to be vigilant. When you edit your work always make it a point to double check your spelling. With the enormity of the task of editing your book you may miss some misspelled words. Which is why you should always set aside some time to double check your work.

This also goes for grammar. There are various Automatic editing tools that you can use to make your grammar more refined. Some great examples of these editing tools being Grammarly and Autocrit.

5. Replace unnecessarily complicated or obscure words

When you edit your book try to identify unnecessarily complicated words. Sometimes in our wish to impress readers, we end up using words that normal readers would usually have to look through a dictionary to know. You can of course use complicated words, but only if it adds something to the manuscript. If it does not, it would only look awkward and unwieldy. Using them too frequently would only make you look pretentious to your readers.

6. Refrain from going overboard in your attribution

Although it is okay to be colorful in your attribution, going overboard with it can be annoying for readers. Try to be more subtle in how you use attribution. It is enough to use said or you don’t even have to sue attribution at all.

7. Also refrain from going overboard with punctuation, fonts and sizes

Some writers have the habit of overusing punctuation, fonts and sizes in order to add emotion to their sentences. Try to avoid this practice, because it is technically a way to hide the lack of emotion in a dialogue. Here are some examples of overusing punctuation, fonts and sizes.

  • He lost…… HIS HAND!!!!!!
  • I WAS WRONG!!!!
  • He broke the vase….I AM SOOOOO ANNOYED!!!!!

8. Refrain from using old cliches

Nothing annoys readers more than cliches. Old and overused tropes that do not anything to the story. If you want to really impress your readers don’t rely on them. Think up something new and exciting.

9. Use established writing styles

If you want your book to look professional you should follow established writing styles. One great example is the Chicago Manual of Style. This is considered to be one of the best editorial references ever and is widely used by most writers.

You can subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style for only $35 a year. Of course you don’t really need to religiously follow it. But it is still advisable that you follow the format and learn more about it because it would help you improve your writing style.

10. Make sure your punctuation are used correctly

Have you ever had a problem with punctuations? Overused or used them incorrectly? Don’t worry it is a common problem for most writers. Just brush up on proper punctuation and make the necessary changes if you see them.

11. Don’t go overboard on the editing process

It’s okay to be thorough in your work but there is no need to go overboard with it. Although you should be critical of your work during the editing process, overdoing it would ultimately do more damage than good. Try to find a good balance between being vigilant with your grammar and spell checks and completely rewriting the book out fear that it is not perfect.

12. Read it out loud

Take the time to read your book aloud to yourself. This will allow you to properly scan your work for errors in grammar. Try to get the flow of the dialogue and see which parts you can improve. Take note of the errors as you read them and make the corrections accordingly.

13. Cut out unnecessary words

Try to make your work as concise and direct as possible. Don’t make your sentence composition too flowery. Unnecessary and superfluous words will not do your writing any favors. It is better to write sparingly but clearly than to write extensively but the sentence composition ends up complicated.

14. Make changes on the story structure first

One common mistake that some writers make is that they pay more attention to the sentence composition than the structure of the story. Thus when they find out that there is something wrong with the story structure, they will have to cut out huge chunks of sentences from the first draft. Thus wasting hours of editing work. This is why when you edit your manuscript always start with structure first then the sentence composition. This will save you a lot of time and effort in the end.

15. Take a systematic approach to the editing process

When you edit your work, take it slowly but surely. Although it may seem tedious at first it is important to remember that editing requires you to be meticulous and patient. Because if you hurry the process and there are errors in the final draft you are still the one who will lose readers.

16. Ask for advice from fellow authors

If there is a part of your book that you are discontented with or have trouble with, it is a good idea to ask fellow writers for their advice. Book editing is a very engrossing and work intensive bit of work. If you ask other authors for advice you can have a fresh new outlook on your book.

17. Use an editing app to be more thorough

Although editing apps are never as accurate as a human editor, they are still useful. This will help you to refine your manuscript’s overall tone. One great example is the Hemingway Editor app.

18. Keep a checklist of corrections

It is understood that book editing is very complicated work, which is why having a checklist of past corrections will really come in handy. It does not matter if it is your first or second draft. Always have a checklist so that you can make corrections as soon as possible. Having a checklist also helps you to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

19. Work on your writing style

True, you are writing your book and you are technically way above the level of a beginner. But this should not dissuade you from trying to improve your writing style. On every draft that you make, be it the first or second always try to learn from past mistakes.

20. Trust in your skill as a writer

One of the biggest challenges a writer could ever face is self-doubt. This is a challenge because doubting your skill will slow your growth as a writer. Always remember that you chose to be a writer and any setback can be overcome with hard work and determination.