Those of us who want to write a fictional story know that this is no easy task. It does require a vivid imagination and a whole lot of drive to get the book done along with the discipline to go through all the drafts to get it just right. However, no matter how many times we may stop to edit our story there is still a chance that we could fall into making some of the most common mistakes known to writers. Yes, authors who are published through a publishing house will have an editing department who could catch these errors but this is the era of self-publishing and more aspiring authors are taking this route. So, these mistakes are so easy to fall into that even some of the most well-known authors who are best sellers have to be cautious of falling into these pitfalls. So, what are these common editorial problems that plague every author be it aspiring or established? Well, below we will go into some of these and ways in which you can go about avoiding these in the future.
No matter how experienced you are at writing fiction, you may still use mixed verb tenses. This is not just in fiction writing but in non-fiction and even article writing. We can find all ourselves writing in past tense, which is the desired format for fiction writing then fall into present tense or past present tense. I know in my fiction writing, I tend to put in a lot of "hads" before the verbs. During the editing process, I take the "hads" out.
Solution: Don't sweat this in the first few drafts. If you see them, fix them, but remember your first few drafts is the time to write your thoughts down and not so much worry about the editing aspects. Once you've solidified your story and have started the editing process in earnest, pay attention to your verb tenses. If you need to, you can even read the manuscript out loud to try to catch this common error and/or have a trusted friend or family member read it.
Have you ever read your novel and realized you have 10,000 grins, sighs or nods. These are just a few of the overused words and actions that authors use while drafting their manuscripts. Other commonly overused words include 'as well', 'also', 'then', 'as' and 'when' that we tend to find ourselves using way too often. In fact, if you do a search for this terminology in Google, there are large lists of these words available to view. Perhaps we aren't prone to using all the words but odds are we do find ourselves using at least one word more often than we should throughout our writing.
Solution: Read the sentence, if it still flows well without the overused word, then guess what, the word isn't needed. If you're really concerned, you can 'find' the specific word in your word processor then decide whether to delete, replace and leave the word.
How many times have you typed 'its' when you meant 'it's'. What about 'than' when it should have been 'then'? This is another incredibly common mistake. After all, just think about the last time you wrote the wrong 'there'. These issues are often called grammar mistakes. However, I disagree. At a certain point in our author careers, we understand the definitions of all these words. However, we still make these "typos". Our brain told our hands that "there" or any "there" sounding words was the correct word in the sentence, and our hands typed a different their. the good news is that you don't have to comb through 80,000 words to find these mistakes.
These are just a few of those common errors that plague authors. The best advice that can be given is to not be afraid to edit your work. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect at first, in fact, it never will be, not in this life is. Just know that editing at least five times will help to catch common errors. Another piece of advice is to have someone else read to work be a trusted friend or even a beta reader, getting feedback will help to ensure that these errors are not only avoided but that the story flows well.