Monday, October 28, 2013

Guest Post: Freelance Writer Sandra Miller

Today I would like to welcome freelance writer, Sandra Miller.
Sandra Miller is a freelance writer at editing service Help.Plagtracker. She is extremely passionate about latest trends in education technology. Keeps developing her writing style and exploring the different types of fiction. Currently takes her first steps toward writing her first YA novel.
The Ultimate Guide to Self-Editing
Plenty of new authors are complaining about the high costs of self-publishing. This seems a little strange, because although there are many ways to spend money on publishing when you’re starting up, there is no real need to do that.
Editing is one of the aspects that many new authors spend a lot of money on. Hiring a professional editor will be inevitable at some point during your growth as an author, but if this is your first book and you want to keep the costs as low as possible – you should focus on self-editing and send a clean copy of your manuscript to your editor. That is the best way to keep the costs as low as possible, so you should pay attention to the tips provided in this article and make sure you learn how to edit your own writing.
1. Avoid repetitiveness
It is important not to use the same descriptive word more than two times in a paragraph. This happens too frequently with new authors – they have a word in their heads and tend to use it whenever possible. Repetitive words are tiresome for the readers, and they can be easily fixed with synonyms.
2. Pay attention to mitigating adjectives/adverbs
Words like mildly or slightly have the tendency to take away from the power of your story, so you should use them as sparingly as possible. Your heroes shouldn’t be ‘mildly’ intriguing, so you should go all the way when you are creating their characters and make them as powerful as possible. Your heroine cannot be ‘slightly’ afraid, so get rid of those dilutive descriptions and don’t make your characters anything less than they should be.
Just by taking the mitigating adjectives/adverbs out of your manuscript, you will achieve a much cleaner and more powerful impression with your writing.
3. Don’t get in tense trouble!
One thing many authors make mistake with is the use of past or past perfect tense with verbs. The rule is simple: if you are using past tense to describe the scene, anything that occurred before the point where the scene picks up should be written in past perfect tense. This may require some practice, but you are a writer after all, so it’s your job to pay attention to perfecting your language.
4. First comes the action, then the reaction!
Your character’s reaction should be described after the action that provoked it. If your character reacts before the reader is acquainted with the action, the reader will be pulled out of the story, trying to figure out what is happening. You may want to create a captivating and mysterious atmosphere this way, but that’s not that great if the reader can’t get the point of the scene.
All you need to do in order to fix this issue is to switch few sentences around, and the scenes will become much clearer and easier to be visualized.
5. Telling/Showing
If you want to lose your reader to boredom, telling is the best way of doing that. Instead of telling your audience what happened, you need to show that through clever dialogue, action, and powerful emotions. That will engage your readers, because they will be able to relate to the emotions and make a deeper connection with your characters.
Grammar tips
1. Improper use of literally
Literally is a word that is commonly abused by writers. I don’t know the reason for this, but it happens all the time; not only by writers, but by actors, newscasters, and politicians as well. Writers often misuse literally instead of ‘a lot’ or ‘really’. This word won’t give any more meaning to the scenes you are trying to describe, so use it very carefully and don’t be among the majority of writers who don’t know what it means.
2. The comma dilemma
Using commas in compound sentences is where many writers make mistakes. There is one basic rule about compound sentences: you must add a comma along with a conjunction to combine two independent clauses in a sentence. If there one dependent clause and one independent clause, you don’t need to add a comma.
3. Farther or Further?
Writers often use these two words interchangeably, when they have different meanings in actuality. Further relates to a metaphysical degree or depth, while farther refers to a physical distance. Think of further as another way of saying additional.
If you become aware of the mistakes you commonly make in your writing, self-editing will become much easier.  That will not only save you a significant amount of money on self-publishing, but it will also make you a better writer, which is what you are always striving for.
**Thanks so much Sandra for stopping by, and for all the great tips and advice!!

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