What are your top five writing mistakes? Either mistakes you make or mistakes that make you cringe when you see them in print?
The author’s views
The one thing I have picked up about my own writing is that my characters often share my own strong opinions on a topic. I do believe many writers use their books to express opinions on certain events or political views, 1984 by George Orwell and Anthem by Ayn Rand, are two such books that come immediately to my mind.
Authors also use their writing to share ideas about things and suggest a mass psychological outcome for humanity of certain events. H.G. Wells was good at this and share a lot of his own beliefs about human psychology in his books, in particular, The Time Machine.
I definitely write with a specific agenda to share certain of my own thoughts and ideas on a subject. I don’t see this as a mistake, but I know that some readers do believe your characters should be distinct from the author’s belief system. I will leave it to my followers to make their own decision about the merits of expressing your views in your writing.
Long and confusing descriptions
I do not care for long and confusing passages of writing that are jolly hard work to read. Some books make me feel as if the author has taken a whole lot of descriptive phrases and unusual words and strung them together to describe a scene. I tend to lose concentration and interest when reading these books. I am not talking about Dickens or the Bronte sisters. They were all long winded and excessively descriptive in their books, but their writing still allowed for smooth reading and the description added to the story. I am talking about descriptive passages that seem to serve no purpose other than to illustrate the extent of the author’s vocabulary.
Blood and gore
Although I love supernatural horror stories, I do not like unnecessary blood and gore. I like books that are creepy and make me feel like I must check under the bed or look over my shoulder. I am not a fan of reading a lot of detail about ax murderers chopping people into pieces. I do enjoy dark psychology so I don’t mind reading about serial killers provided the focus is on the mental state and motivation of the murderer and not the body parts.
Books that are long to achieve word count
I can’t say I won’t read a long book because I have read many of Stephen King’s door stoppers as well as some ultra long classic reads like War and Peace. The length doesn’t put me off if it is necessary and adds value to the story. Books that ramble on and have a lot of words that don’t add to the story, don’t rank high on my reading list.
Books that are poorly written
I don’t mind a few spelling errors or even the odd missing word or similar typing and editing errors, but I cannot bear a book that is written in poor English and is full of grammatical errors. I will put such books aside and not finish them. When my boys were younger, I bought them the Disney series of books which were published in China. The language was so poor I had to correct it continuously as I read and, eventually, I gave these books away.
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