Jan. 2nd, 2016

alfreda89: 3 foot concrete Medieval style gargoyle with author's hand resting on its head. (Mascot)
Over at Book View Cafe, writer Sherwood Smith talks about participating on a convention panel where everyone wrote up their top three problems/"don't do this" things, and then discussed them. My title is slightly different because some of us have blind spots and old tracks we follow, and we often remove the same things from our first stream-of-consciousness drafts. So these are beginner errors, but things like favorite words or images can creep into any writer's manuscript. Making a pass and just correcting these things will make a huge difference in the quality and readability of your manuscript.

One of my own personal favorites--always try to read the work aloud. Your ear will tell you when something isn't working, or a bad rhythm is developing.

"I think these lists interesting mostly because they reveal writerly process at least as much as they do beginner errors. Some of the best discussion arose out of what some considered no error at all, and others considered advice for revision, not for first draft errors, and what the difference was.

"For pants writers (those who sit down and let the tale spin out through their fingers before going back to see what they have) one set of rules might be helpful and another useless; for plotters and planners, a completely different set."

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