New Writers Mistakes

Because I judge a lot of contests and often see manuscripts from new or unseasoned writer, this is something I suspect, but don't know for sure. Some people who are writing are not readers.

Why do I say this? Because I've seen too many manuscripts that aren't formatted like a manuscript should be. Yes, I know that publishers have different formatting guidelines and I always tell writers to follow the publishers' guidelines. But this is what I've seen lately.

Pages not having right hand ragged edges.

No paragraphs at all.

No indentation for paragraphs--just a space between paragraphs. (Like this post is.)

Or an indentation and space between a paragraph.

Single-spaced instead of double-spaced.

No knowledge of point-of-view,  head hopping like crazy in a single scene.

Not a clue as to who the hero or heroine is.

Dialogue with no hint of where the conversation is taking place.

No description of the characters.

Character names that are too plain.

Character names that sound alike.

No sense of place. Where in the world is the story taking place?

No description of the setting. 

No idea of the time period. Doesn't have to be pin-pointed to the day--but should have some hints as to whether it's today, or a few years back in time.

Wrong use of words that sound alike: to too, their there, its it's. (Often that's because of relying on spell-checker instead of going over the manuscript line by line.)

There's more, but that's enough for now.


Madison Johns said…
Thanks for saying what needs to be said. Formatting is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
It would help if I wrote New Writers' Mistakea. I really do know where and how to punctuate.
Lorna Collins - said…
Great observations, as always.
Patricia Gligor said…
I especially liked what you said about Spellcheck. I see it all the time; too many people rely on their computer to tell them when a word is spelled incorrectly. Too, to, two - they're all the same to Spellcheck.

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