So many mistakes, so little time?
If you’re an amateur writer, time is a luxury that you can use to the fullest and for sure, you will have a lot of it. What you can’t have a lot of are the mistakes. We all want tips for writing the best article or the best email or summary. But if you’re in a hurry, you will fall into a lot of mistakes and probably rejections.
Avoid these at all costs
It won’t be easy and it will definitely take time but if your desire to become a good writer and write for that dream brand is big, avoid these mistakes I once made.
Too many adjectives and adverbs
Having a lot of adjectives and adverbs doesn’t really make you a good writer. Maybe you can describe well but too many adjectives spoil the subject and too many adverbs spoil the verb. When you add too much, you’re drawing the reader away from the dream and may sound tedious. Pull them back in with just the right number of descriptive words. Go to the heart of the conflict instead. A writer’s wild imagination can create a good description, but it should also end in the readers’ minds.
Avoid the passive voice if you can
Passive voices have no place in writing. There may be a few instances where they fit. But take these tips for writing. Passive is another word for weak. You don’t give a big impact to your readers with this voice because it lacks force. You want your reader to be in on it with you in your story’s plot, right? Passive voice won’t bring them there. It won’t even invite them into your story. It sounds pretentious, not real.
Be clear with what you want to say
Sometimes, writers want to blabber on with too many words without having to say what’s necessary. Or rather, too many words but not really saying enough to leave the readers satisfied. In flash fiction, writers are forced to write short short, really short stories. From introduction to plot to happy ending, all under about a hundred words.
Try not to use big words
Try not to impress your readers with your deep knowledge of uncommon words. If your reader will have to use a dictionary each time he encounters a big word, he could get tired and confused. It’s best to tell the story with a rich vocabulary but not too deep, they can’t get out of the hole.
Vary your sentences and structure
Don’t write monotonously because your readers will see right through it. Don’t use the same structure and length of sentences in your paragraphs. Try a little variation with the number of words in your sentences and the number of sentences in your paragraphs.
Avoid the dreaded clichés
Yes we love using clichés because they somehow have certain eloquence but avoid using the overused clichés at all costs.
Practice descriptive writing
When describing a certain situation, sometimes writers write what they see without much creativity. This aspect of writing requires practice and in time, it can be learned to describe by instinct. You don’t just say, “The chef got so angry”. With lots of practice, write by instinct with more creativity by saying, “Chef Mario lashed out, swearing and tearing the kitchen apart.” In other words, show it to your readers; don’t just tell it to your readers.
Make use of the five senses
It’s normal to just use the sense of sight but there are other senses that you could use, too. Don’t neglect the sense of smell, touch, taste and hearing. Place your reader into the story at just that moment with the other senses.
Practice good grammar
Your editor will thank you for practicing correct grammar always. It will show your commitment to your craft and that you are thorough and responsible in staying true to correct grammar.
Are you ready to get out of the Amateur label and move up to becoming an Expert? (Or at least, semi-expert). Then keep practicing and avoid some common and uncommon writing mistakes. These tips for writing are simple yet so neglected. Practice makes perfect so keep at it and someday your readers will eagerly await your next piece.