I promise I will read this daily! Lynette Labelle gives amazingly good editing advice over at her blog post The Editor’s Dozen: Common Mistakes Writers Make.
Using too many exclamation points: Not guilty!!!! I had to stop doing smilies too, so people would take my professional correspondence more seriously, lol! I still do lol though. That makes me seem more mature.
Repeated words: guilty, guilty! Writers need a MS Word macro that can highlight words that are repeated too frequently on a page (though not stopwords like “the,” “and,” “or,” etc). I would love for someone to write this macro for me! I will pay with the only currency I have, inappropriate flirtation.
Poor comma usage: Not guilty, sir!
Those are the easy ones. For some of the other common mistakes, I may as well be blind! Flip-flopping verb tenses, action/reaction blunders, non-specifics, buried dialog. It goes on and on, a horrifying list of my biggest challenges as a writer. One thing that’s missing: too many italics. When I get tired, my characters stress words like Valley Girls.
My personal worst writer’s mistake is began/started. Lynette writes:
Began/started: For the most part, your characters never have to begin or start something. They can just do it. Rather than saying Emily began to shake, say Emily shook. This makes the writing tighter and more active.
I apparently have a strong timeline fetish in my erotica writing, because I need to write when each thing commences! I will begin to stop doing that! When I take out the began/started text, the story pacing improves and the narrative becomes clearer. I have a began/started reminder sticky on my desk. Great read for self-editing writers!