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The Mechanics of Writing…

…Or, the mistakes we are all guilty of, especially me… No matter what form your writing may take, there are a few givens that always apply.

  1. Overly long sentences are to be avoided at all costs – GUILTY!
  2. Too much or too little punctuation, combined with unnecessary use is also to be avoided – GUILTY!
  3. Too much descriptive narrative is not desirable – GUILTY!
  4. Too little, or too much conversation between characters either annoys the reader, or bores them to death – GUILTY!
  5. Don’t be afraid to make your characters three dimensional – VERY GUILTY!
  6. Avoid overly long paragraphs – GUILTY!
  7. Determine what is the appropriate length for each chapter – not sure? Ask your editor – GUILTY!
  8. Don’t be afraid to change a word when the offending word has another form far more suitable – GUILTY!
  9. Be highly critical of your own work, why, because your editor surely will be, that’s why – GUILTY!

As I now sit down to revise/edit my latest manuscript I find myself scratching my head as to why I wrote each sentence in the way I did initially.

At the time when that sentence first leapt from my mind onto this computer screen it made sense. But does it now – no, not really.

Don’t think that spending hours each day working your way through several chapters at a time will solve the problem – it won’t, you need to be fresh and wide awake.

Do what I do – take one chapter each day. Go through it several times. Stop for a cup of tea/coffee often.

If the weather is fine, get outside for a break away from those pesky words sitting there in front of you for an hour or so, they’ll still be there when you get back.

Above all, don’t treat your writing efforts as a chore.

Relax; enjoy watching that story/article slowly unfold in front of you.

And, when your editor fires your work back to you with his/her suggested corrections, don’t take umbrage. Take what they say on the chin, learn from them.

I do.

Now if only I would take my own advice – sigh…


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