By Jill Noble
The Boring Beginning. Statistics show that when a reader is choosing a book, they read the back cover or book blurb, and then they flip open the book to read the first few pages. Many authors seem to forget they only have a few sentences in which to capture the reader’s attention. Start your book off with a bang by choosing a catchy opening sentence (and then deliver by following through), and use action and dialogue rather than exposition or narrative. You only have a few minutes to get and keep a reader’s (or editor’s!) attention; use your time wisely.
Incoherent Writing. You’re the author…you know exactly what’s happening in your book at all times, because the story is in your head. But sometimes details get lost in the translation, and some writers have a difficult time getting everything straight on paper. Make sure you’re starting your book in the right place (generally, this is the moment of “change” for your main character). Don’t dump whole boatloads of back story at once-dribble in a little at a time, on a “need to know” basis. If you have a complicated plot, make a plot grid or outline, and use it as a map when writing your story. A volunteer BETA reader is often helpful in spotting areas where a reader might think, Huh?
Overuse of “it” and “that.” Search for these words and either delete or replace them. The word “that” is usually unnecessary and the word “it” can often be replaced with a more concrete word or phrase.
Overuse of certain words or phrases. Try to vary descriptive words or phrases, as well as nouns and adjectives. If you used the word “hand,” for instance, five times in the last 2 paragraphs, you’re going to distract and annoy your reader.
Incorrect and/or redundant dialogue tags. People do not breathe, wheeze, chortle, order, demand, instruct (etc) words. They either say them, or they ask them. Period. If you must use a dialogue tag, use said or asked. Or better yet, use an action tag, but remember, action tags are separated from the dialogue by periods, not commas. Your job as a writer is to make the dialogue speak for itself. “Get to your room!” he ordered, is not only incorrect (people do not “order” words), but it’s also redundant. “Get to your room!” by definition, is an order. The tag “he ordered” is not necessary.
Jill N. Noble is Senior Editor with Noble Romance Publishing. Noble Romance Publishing offers high-quality erotic romance novels in electronic edition. Visit http://www.nobleromance.com today.
Article Source: On Writing – 5 Most Common Manuscript Mistakes