I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Sorry editor, my most abused mistakes.
When I first started writing, I thought using the word very would make more of an impact. Then I found out it was a bad impact. I always liked the Mark Twain quote “Put damn every place you would write very and your editor will omit it making your sentence better.” (this isn’t a word for word quote but you get the gist of it.) Now days damn isn’t so bad so I’m not sure my editor would omit every one.
Commas are my nemesis. I was taught you put a comma every time you pause reading the sentence. Hmm… well, the key word is reading the sentence not writing the sentence. I pause quite often when I stop to think. Way too many commas were used in my writing. Now, I don’t use enough. My proofreader, not usually my editor, puts in most of my commas. My mantra now is when in doubt leave the little curvy think out.
Other common mistakes my editor focuses on: THAT. Over the years I’ve learned the word is redundant. If reading the sentence and it makes perfect sense without the word, leave it out. Also, AND THEN. She taught me to choose, one or the other. Again, it’s redundant to use both.
These are all more things that are for proofreaders than editors. I often change the spelling of names, Sara or Sarah, then I can’t remember which one I wanted. It’s nice we can search for mistakes and fix them more easily than reading through the entire ms. for one item.
What is your most common mistake in writing?