Novel Writing Mistakes

In proof reading your work, I always recommend reading out loud. This exposes awkward sounding sentences and the overuse of the same or similar words. Well, in my last novel excerpt I was in such a hurry to finish and post it, I neglected to follow my own advice. Nevertheless, it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate what NOT to do.

Here is the section in question:

“All right. Stay back and we’ll take a look,” the officer said.

He waved over one of the other officers and together they approached the shattered shop window. The other officer swept his Maglite around the darkened interior and focused it on something toward the front of the room. He spoke to the first officer who nodded and came back to where Brad and I were standing. “It looks like a large rock, or maybe a piece of concrete block, it’s hard to tell from here. Do you mind opening the place up so we can take a closer look?”

Officer, officer, officer… I only discovered just how bad that sounded after reading it out loud. Here is the edited version of that same section:

“All right. Stay back and we’ll take a look,” he said.

He waved to his partner and together they approached the shattered front window. The second officer swept his Maglite around the darkened interior and focused it on something toward the front of the room. He spoke to the first officer who nodded and came back to where Brad and I were standing. “It looks like a large rock, or maybe a piece of concrete block, it’s hard to tell from here. Do you mind opening the place up so we can take a closer look?”

Better, but not perfect. However, technically this whole thing is a first draft so some extensive editing will be done before it ever goes to print. I hope this shows you how helpful it is to read your work out loud. I have learned my lesson!

44 thoughts on “Novel Writing Mistakes

  1. Oh dear: we all make mistakes. Cut, cut, cut! I was reading the excerpt in such breathless fashion, I didn’t stop to check. You make a good point, though. I often review the pieces I post and alter them after the comments others make.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great advice, Meg but I can’t read my stuff written in English out loud because it just kills it, it’s the accent, I actually can’t bear it. I really need to enlist the help of a native English speaker to read it out loud for me 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am a frequent mistake maker. Or maybe a compulsive editor. Lol. Not sure. Probably both. But reading aloud is the best helper! I wish I could learn to write things made to be read aloud. I love spoken word.

    Like

  4. Hi Meg- Thanks for great advice.

    I am just starting a humble weblog about language learning, especially Spanish, and took your advice before I pressed ‘publish’ button on today’s post. Magic! It really helped me to hear what was wrong instead of trying to see.
    To be honest, I was reading your excerpt trying to spot what was wrong, but didn’t pick upon the ‘officer, officer’ issue. I thought it was great. Of course I saw what you meant afterwards, but it was still good.
    Thanks again for great advice.
    Regards. Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

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