Annoying writing mistakes...

by Madison
(U.S.A. Virginia)

Question: I'm writing a fiction novel and as I'm writing I think 'oh, this is great, sounds wonderful,' but when I look back I think, 'how in the world could I think that was ever good!?!?'

It's the sentences that really have me stumped, I have the plot and that's easy to fix but it's those annoying sentences! This awesome site is a good example, all the sentences go together and sound great but mine couldn't sound worse if they were hit by a car, or maybe they could, i don't know!
So, does anybody have some editing tips and maybe writing tips on how things should be written?

Very Annoyed Sentence Writer,


PS. If anyone has some tips on making fictional worlds that would be some awesome help.

Answer: Have you checked out the video by Ira Glass on the following page?

The point of this video is that it's a good thing if you can look at your writing and say "this is disappointing" or "this sucks." It means that you can tell good sentences from bad ones, which means you have taste.

If you didn't have this taste, there would be no way you could ever become a good writer. Believe me, there are lots of bad writers who think their writing is good, but it will never become good because they wouldn't know a bad sentence if it was written in a 48pt bold font, underlined, at the end of a large arrow labelled THIS IS A BAD SENTENCE.

Congratulate yourself for having good taste! It means you have a chance to become a good writer.

Now, the real work is applying that taste and rewriting your sentences until you can honestly say, "this does not suck. It may not be as good as Ernest Hemingway, but it does not suck."

It may take time to improve. Sometimes you may revise the same sentence 100 times over the course of many months. (For instance, I cannot ever look at a page of this website without finding at least one sentence I want to rewrite. Revision becomes a habit.)

But gradually, your writing will get better and better and you will be able to say what you want clearly, melodiously, and succinctly.

At the same time, I assume you read avidly? Reading helps you develop your feel for how to create good sentences, for how words can flow harmoniously. It teaches you how other writers solved similar problems.

Of course, there are some useful tips you can find in writing books. And I've put a few on this page...

But nothing beats reading and writing.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero