Typical "new author" mistakes!
Apparently there is a mile long list of mistakes that newbie authors (like myself) make all the time. I really wish I had known these before I started writing - but you don't know what you don't know. Not that I didn't try to educate myself on how to write the best romance novel ever. Believe me, I read at least fifty articles on how to create conflict, how to plot a story, how to create compelling characters, etc. However, there are a lot more articles out there focusing on what you should do instead of what you shouldn't do. It wasn't until I went through my first round of edits with a professional editor that I learned these four simple rules:
(1) New authors tend to overuse their characters' names. Your story will flow better if you default to "he" and "she" as much as possible during the story. Every time the reader's eye comes to a character's name, the reader pauses and can be jolted out of the story. I was amazed at what a difference this simple fix had on the flow of my book.
(2) New authors tend to overuse exclamation marks! I am guilty of this in the worst way. Even when I make a conscious effort not to use them...I still overuse them. Similar to the concept discussed above in item (1), a reader's eye pauses when it comes to an ! but moves right on by a "." - which seems odd but is soooooo true. You want the reader to fly right through the story. Again, you'd be surprise how much of a difference it makes on the book when you use ! sparingly.
(3) New authors tend to use dialog tags too often. It isn't necessary to use "he said" or "she said" every single time there is dialog in a book. Get creative with the character's expressions or body movements to make it apparent who is speaking. For example.
"What the heck?" Jordan said, staring at me with wide eyes. "Why did you do that?"
can be replaced with
"What the heck?" Jordan stared at me with wide eyes. "Why did you do that?"
To locate these trouble spots, I now do a "find" function in Word for "said" or "asked" after the first draft of the manuscript is complete to see if any of my dialog tags can be deleted.
(4) New authors overuse adverbs. So now I do a "find" function in Word for "ly" and watch the page light up in yellow highlights. Wow. What an eye opener that is. I don't realize how often I use adverbs ending in ly while I'm writing the manuscript. But when the page lights up yellow, I know I have a problem and I start slashing them out.
Try these simple tips on your manuscript and see if they make a difference!!!!!!
R. C. Matthews latest release DATE NIGHT- a cross between Contemporary, NA and Chicklit!
Ever since Jordan Billette’s father, Jeremy, died unexpectedly when she was eight years old, Jordan and her paternal grandmother (‘Grannie’) have shared a special bond by creating a tribute to Jeremy: a scrapbook that documents the important milestone of Jordan’s life from her first report card with letter grades, to her first kiss, to graduating from college.
Upon graduating from college, only one significant milestone remains; her wedding day. When Grannie is diagnosed with aggressive cancer, she makes one dying wish to Jordan. Grannie wants to watch Jordan walk down the aisle. Not engaged? Not even dating? No problem. Grannie has a plan. She signs Jordan up for a dating service—dinner dates twice per week will surely turn up a soul mate!
JT Murphy has been best friends with Jordan’s older brother Jared since they were in diapers. Grannie wisely insists Jordan meet her dates at the restaurant where JT waits tables because she needs protection from unworthy jerks. JT is more than happy to help; Jordan is like a sister to him. So why does her smile light up his evening whenever he sees her and why is he noticing that she has curves in all the right places? As the wedding draws near…JT wonders if it’s his heart that needs protecting…from the pain of potentially losing Jordan forever.
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