Tip Tuesdays is being lead off with a short article written by one of the hardest working editors on the site, Sharon. In the future, on Tuesdays, you can look forward to writing, editing, site, or other tips that we think you may find useful. If you have something you would like to share, drop a PM and let me know.
Good for you! But take it from a veteran editor and reader, it takes more than the desire to put pen to paper. Or keys to screen. Trust me…it took me two days to write this article. And it’s not very long.
If I could give just one piece of advice to a new author, it would be to brush up on the basic rules of grammar. We’re not talking about anything fancy here, just good old spelling and dialog punctuation. If these are not your strong suit, find a good book or website to use for reference. There are plenty of them out there that present information in a fun and entertaining way. Find one, or like me, ten that works for you. Also, check the options on whatever word-processing program you use and set the spellchecker, grammar, and style functions to the highest level. Don’t take the suggested corrections at face value, though. Most spellcheckers won’t catch everything. But at least things that may need a second look are highlighted. Spend the time to understand what these tools are telling you. Correcting mistakes in spelling, grammar, and style will make your writing more enjoyable to read.
As a reader, these basic errors act as speed bumps for the eyes. They break a story’s ebb and flow. You may think your plot is wonderfully entertaining, your characters extremely well developed. And they very well may be. You could have the next Pulitzer winner for fiction all ready to flow off your fingertips. But if a reader has to stumble over the incorrect use of ‘there’, ‘their’, and ‘they’re’ too many times, you’ll lose them in the first chapter.
So you want to be an author? Then do it. Write. Write with passion, heart, and flair. But learn your craft first and give your future readers your best effort.
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