PREVIEW – Top Ten Errors Writers Make and Editors Hate



welcome to the tutorial top ten errors writers make that editors hate what are they and how do I fix them my name is Helga Scheer I'm a literary editor with more than 20 years of experience in the publishing industry after many years as editor in Big Five publishing houses I found it with pen and paper calm and now provide independent editorial services guiding writers like you through the development and writing process to help you write the best book you possibly can today I'll be talking about the president chewing gum about a couple celebrating their anniversary about a mother defending her child to think now about black cats on Friday the 13th about clothes all over the living room and dishes crashing to the floor in a restaurant but if this was a novel and not a tutorial I should not tell you what I'll be talking about I should just do it in other words I should show not tell and of course I'll be talking about that too but what I'm trying to do here foreshadow elements of my tutorial in the beginning is a fine strategy because as a fiction writer you want the beginning of your story to tie in with your ending your story should run like an unstoppable freight train of events one plot twist leading to the next together weaving Charlotte's Web spelling the words good book a rather good first draft for that's what it is a draft even when you think it's ready for an agent or a publisher everyone else involved will have comments and you'll be revising more often than you'd like because even a near-perfect manuscript is found to have typos seriously nothing is worse than reading a manuscript that has not been properly edited and true friend editors one choose to succeed I get excited every time a new manuscript lands on my desk I'm excited by the idea to write a pitch to me ideas great ideas even unique ideas are the beginning of every great book but ideas are cheap it's the execution that matters the execution we'll decide whether your manuscript ends up in the slush pile or on the shelves of a bookstore in other words the way you develop your idea or bring it to life will not only cook but also reel in agents and editors and ultimately your readers

4 thoughts on “PREVIEW – Top Ten Errors Writers Make and Editors Hate

  1. I love Helga's practical presentation. Writing is an emotional pursuit, and she's telling people how to use intellect and proper execution to bring the story to life, so an agent or editor likes what they see.

  2. Lots of good advice. I took issue with "Ideas are cheap" ha (Oh, she is referring to popular fiction, not new philosophy or scientific hypotheses, OK). She says it is the execution that matters, which creates "high readability" and which is comprised of three things: surface structure (words on page); style and voice; and "the world" (dialog, story, characters). If all three are good, great (and it is never a 1st or 2nd draft, she says). All good.
    Nevertheless, with what I write (philosophy for example), I MUST focus on ideas (it is why I write and what I write about), and what is of critical importance is conveying those ideas as clear and as easy to read (flow) as possible so the reader can easily get through all of it – which is important with what i write – my concern does not end with the sale.
    As for editing issues, with me, it is phraseology – using common phrases – which is important for readability, and for one who is and innovator and creative – I tend to 'invent' new phrases – which not a good thing – since odd phrasings are a stumbling block and will slow readers down, or stop them dead. On another readability point no mentioned, I've worked long and hard to develop tools (innovative punctuation and formatting) to get readers through long pieces and long trains of thought. The scenario with me and an editor would go like this: Editor: "You can't do all the things you did, you've broken a lot of rules!" Me: "I had to create new tools for readability and clarity; did you get through it all?" Editor: "Yes." Me: "Was it difficult?" Editor: "No." Me: "Then nothing needs to be done. Publish it."
    I like "ease the reader through the story".

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