Content Writing

How to Correct Writing Mistakes in Your Novel or a Blog

I bet you have published an article or submitted a screenplay where you have made punctuation errors and then realized it. But it was too late. Yeah, it’s boring work & I don’t like it either. But it’s the most important thing you should do to avoid losing those readers.

If you are a screenwriter using some Screenwriting Software tools, you too might want to read this blog further.

But let me first jot down those writing mistakes, that make whatever you write look bad. And then I’ll explain one by one how to correct them. 

Here is the list below:

  1. Misspellings
  2. Punctuation Marks
  3. Too Many Conjunctions
  4. Pronouns in the Wrong Place
  5. Me, Myself and I
  6. Wrong Words
  7. Missing Words
  8. Interjections
  9. Bad Sentence Structure
  10. Using Tenses the Wrong Way
  11. Using Unnecessarily Big Words
  12. Compound Words

1. Misspellings

This is one of the most common mistakes that people make while writing. Here are a couple of examples:

  • wether – whether
  • litsen – listen
  • recieve – receive
  • seperate – separate
  • acheive – achieve

The misspellings list goes on like this. Even though autocorrect options are fantastic these days, sometimes it is better to review it 1 last time. One thing I do is remember some of these common words. So when you are writing you know that you need to double-check on those spellings first before writing further. 

Related: 7 Best Udemy Courses to Learn Screenwriting Online(2020)

2. Punctuation Marks

These are more than 10 punctuation marks in English grammar. They are period, comma, semicolon, colon, apostrophe, exclamation mark, question mark, quotation marks, parenthesis, brackets.

Let’s look at some of them to understand their use in a sentence.

Period – (.) – It is placed at the end of a sentence or after an abbreviation

  • Ending a sentence – John and Peter went to watch a movie.
  • Abbreviation – The movie was released on Oct. 10, 2020.

Comma – (,) – It is used when there is slight pause in your sentence

  • Peter, who was the host of the luncheon, paid the bill.

Semicolon(;) –  People often confuse between a comma & a semicolon. Semicolon is used to show relation between two clauses.

  • John was sleepy; so he went to bed early.

Semicolons are used when we cannot use a period and a comma either. Somewhere in between.

Colon (:) – Colons are used after a word to write a list, quotation, example.

  • Amy has 4 main hobbies: cooking, reading, writing poems & playing guitar.

Apostrophe (‘) – It is used when omitting a letter while structuring a sentence or in the possessive case. 

  • Peter’s notebook was torn to pieces.
  • You’ve to go and bring it back
  • I think we’ve already been to this place, haven’t we?

Exclamation Mark (!) – Used when a character in a novel is showing extreme emotion (joy, sadness, etc).

  • Oh My God! There’s a snake below our car.”
  • The Avengers movie was so fantastic!

To eliminate making these errors, read through each paragraph just after you write it, and not after you finish 2-3 pages.

Related: 10 Best Writing Courses on Coursera (Screenwriting Included)

3. Too Many Conjunctions

Words that link to sentences, clauses and other words. If you are using them more in a single sentence, then it is not a good reading experience.

Incorrect: Her hobbies were writing and reading and music but she never found time for them due to her household chores, but she never complained.

Correct: Her hobbies were writing, reading and music, but she never found time for them due to her household chores. However, she never complained about it.

Breaking it into 2 sentences helps. You can use the free tool, Grammarly while writing. It corrects errors like these.

With over 900 reviews on each course, you can take these courses on Coursera for English Grammer where over 50 thousand to 150 thousands students have already already.

4. Pronouns in the Wrong Place

Pronouns are used instead of proper nouns like John, New York, etc. to make phrases short and get to the point.

Incorrect: John loves his new car. John drives it everyday to the office.

Correct: John loves his new car. He drives it everyday to the office.

Incorrect: John, Peter and Jim stayed for dinner. John, Peter and Jim left the house with their stomachs full.

Correct: John, Peter and Jim stayed for dinner. They left the house with their stomachs full.

You can quickly read this blog or download a pronoun guide on Amazon if you are new to the english language. The guide has illustrations and is fun to read too.

Related: 18 Best Books & eBooks on The Art of Screenwriting

5. Me, Myself and I

There is an official music video with the same name! Seriously! 

Coming back to the point have you ever felt confused while using these words? I definitely have been, especially between “Me & I”.

I thought of explaining but found a better explanation with an example when I read this blog on the same topic. Perfectly explains it. 

6. Wrong Words 

This is an error made by spell checkers & algorithms also. The reason being, there are many words english with very identical spellings having different meanings & different meanings. For ex:

Fair:

  • Kevin played a fair match, but still lost.
  • Mary had gone to a fair, along with her friends.

Principle vs Principal

  • What is the principle of relativity by Albert Einstein?
  • The Principal has come to school today. 

Important to remember is to use dictionaries, thesaurus very carefully. You should know the exact meaning of the words before putting them in your novel/blog.

7. Missing Words

Omitting words out of the sentence is a natural typing error. We usually emit pronouns, conjunctions & prepositions.

  • The whole country knew that their new leader capable of thinking 20 years ahead.
  • The whole country knew that their new leader was capable of thinking 20 years ahead.

Spell checkers usually give you a suggestion, however reading the blog again just once will do.

Related: 14 Best Screenwriting Websites to Learn Writing Screenplays

8. Interjections

An example would be “Wow!”. We use them to convey emotion of the character. The good definition of interjection is given by Your Dictionary

  • Oops! I dropped the cake!
  • Eww! There’s a spider on the wall behind you!

Authors & scriptwriters are advised to put in extra effort to think one more time whether it is really necessary to use these words in that particular scene. If so, then you go ahead

9. Bad Sentence Structure

A sentence has a flow to it. If the flow is stopped with another shorter sentence, it will confuse the reader and he might close the book. For Ex:

Incorrect:The process of learning screenwriting today has changed since the age of the internet gave people a platform to learn it online by logging in to their computers to take their lessons, whether it is a good or bad thing.

Correct: Today, the process of learning screenwriting has changed a lot, since the internet gave people a chance to learn it online through their computers.

The rest of the incorrect sentence is really not that important in this context.

10. Using Tenses the wrong way

Everyone knows that the 3 tenses are Past, Present & Future. But there are also tenses like Past Perfect Tense & Present Perfect Tense so on. It is important that you recognize the importance of each before constructing a sentence. For ex:

  • Jessica had played tennis that day. She’s tired.

Here, the first phrase is in the past tense & the second phrase is in present tense. The correct one is below:

  • Jessica had played tennis that day. She was tired.

Both phrases are in past tense.

  • Jessica plays tennis that day. She’s tired.

This will also work if you are writing a narration or a screenplay. 

At more than 80% discount, you can take one of these simple Udemy Courses on English tenses to understand tenses better.

11. Using Unnecessarily Big Words

Authors, screenwriters, bloggers, news editors sometimes use words to add flavour to a sentence. And I agree it makes an interesting read. However it is useful only when needed. For ex:

  • Our life changed prodigiously after we shifted to our new home.

I bet some of you thought “Prodigious? What’s that?” So we can write it like this below:

  • Our life changed immensely after we shifted to our new home.

That sounds readable right? It’s better to use words people have heard of before unless it’s a science fiction novel or a blog. 

Only JK Rowling can get away with words like Expelliarmus & Sectumsempra. We all love Harry Potter.

Also read: Top 10 Free & Paid Screenwriting Software Tools(2020)

12. Compound words

I still remember the delicious cheesecake I ate at my friend’s birthday in his living room when I was 10.

Cheesecake & Living room. Both are compound words. Words that are combined to make a new meaning. There are 3 types of compound words:

  • Closed: Examples are Classroom, Sunlight, Grandmother & Cheesecake of course.
  • Open: Living room, Coffee mug, Real estate
  • Hyphenated: up-to, Part time

For better understanding of the Hyphenated compound word you can check this article on Grammarly & Word Counter.

Knowing which compound word is closed, open or hyphenated is essential while writing. Google as the best source of information to verify this before writing.

Conclusion 

There are much more writing mistakes that we make. However each one of the above is important for credibility of your talent as a writer. If you come up with any more mistakes and ways to correct them let me know in the comments below.

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