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Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid – Part 2

Last week we looked at some common mistakes such as viewpoint/POV, exposition (show, don’t tell) and superfluous description, so this week we’ll take a look at the other common mistakes authors make when writing:
Tenses Incorrect punctuation Description – or lack of it Dialogue Tags Going to/starting to/began to
Tenses Getting tenses in a tangle a very common error among writers, whether they’re new or established. That’s because sometimes, during the throes of writing, it’s easy to slip from one tense to another without even noticing. Past tense – he did/she said/they were etc, is the most common tense to work with and an easy one to use. Problems occur, however, when writers choose the present tense, (I do/she is/they are etc), which is a little more difficult to get to grips with, certainly in terms of the choice of POV. Many will inadvertently slip from the present into past tense without realising. Here’s a simple example: I get out of the car and make my way to the foyer, knowing she wa…

Common Writing Mistakes to Avoid – Part 1

What better way to end the year than with a timely reminder of how to avoid those common writing mistakes that plague all writers?We’re all guilty; we all fall prey to them from time to time – no one is perfect. Writing is never static – we are constantly learning as we go, and even the most experienced writers have to double check themselves to catch even the most obvious errors. We’ll be looking in more detail at these very common mistakes:
Show, don’t tell Viewpoint/POV Prologues/Info dumps/indirect exposition Superfluous description Hanging participles/dangling modifiers Tenses Incorrect punctuation Description – or lack of it Dialogue Tags Going to/starting to/began to
Show, Don’t Tell This is probably the most common mistake that writers make. Telling a story is one thing, but ‘showing’ a story is another. So instead of writing flat, dull, unimaginative description that does nothing for the story, show the reader, let them visualise what you describe. Show them with atmosphere, emotion, thou…

Developing a Story – Part 2

In the previous article we looked at why it’s beneficial to do some story development, by pulling together the most important aspects such as plot, characters, genre, themes, subplots and setting.Now that you have an idea of the important ingredients, here are some ways to help visualise and develop the story. Storyboarding Many writers use storyboarding as a way to develop a story, by using sketches to visualise key scenes. It’s a practical approach used in movie making, with scenes drawn out that show the unfolding action and ‘snapshots’ of the important turning points and plot twists. This is useful if you’re artistic and want to truly visualise your novel with a graphic overview. Chapter Outlines/Story Arcs Favoured by many writers, the chapter outline is a simple summary of each chapter and briefly details what might happen, together with likely actions. It doesn’t have to be in-depth (though there is no reason for it not to be, if you want to do that), but the outline should contain…