Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Most Common Manuscript Mistakes

I received this question via email:  What are the most common mistakes writers make in manuscripts?

Here are the top :

1.  Repetitive word usage:  the same word and close derivations used multiple times in the same sentence and/or paragraph.

2.  Introducing a lot of characters at the same time but not describing any of them. 

3.  Repetitive sentence structure. 

4.  Including a prologue when one is not really necessary, serving only to confuse, bore or alienate the reader.

5.  Misuse of punctuation:  especially using semi-colons incorrectly.

6.  Excessive use of italics. 

7.  Word use consistency/inconsistency:  spelling/capitlaizing/hyphenating, etc. a word differently in numerous places.

8.  Sentences that run together.

9.  Using the same phrase to describe the same action every time.  (i.e. using "their lips locked" every time someone kisses)

10.  Misspellings.  With spellcheck, there is definitely no excuse for this!

BONUS:  A synopsis that doesn't aptly represent their manuscript.

Try to avoid these mistakes and you will have a much cleaner manuscript!

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