by Alycia W. Morales @AlyciaMorales
As a freelance editor, I’ve worked with several authors – both experienced and not – and have seen most everything you could think of within the lines of those manuscripts. But my clients aren’t alone. I’ve written some books and have noticed my own shortcomings, which include things like cardboard characters and dropping the suspense line in what was supposed to be a suspense novel. Yep. I’m not immune to making writing mistakes either.
So, to celebrate the month of October, let’s take a look at the 7 scariest things I’ve seen as an editor.
- The Headless Horseman – Have you ever had the feeling that something is seriously missing? Let’s call this The Case of the Missing Plot Line. There’s writing by the seat of our pants, and then there’s forgetting to write the story. Have you ever seen a manuscript filled with characters who are doing life but nothing ever really happens? I have. I’ve probably written a few…
- Frankenstein – One of my favorite writing messes is when it appears that a writer has decided to pull various parts of their manuscript from every corner of the book and patch them all together, hoping they might come to life when they’re finished. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the way to make it work.
- Dracula – Dracula looks a lot in my head like repetition – sucking the fun out of the story. Bring your books back to life by removing repetition, especially in characters and their emotions. If your character is depressed at the beginning of the book, please don’t let her be depressed at the end of the book. She needs to overcome, to find her happily ever after. Don’t suck the life out of her and your reader.
- The Walking Dead – This guy looks a little different from Dracula. This character is flat. He’s walking through your book, but he has no life whatsoever. Instead, he just takes up space with his braindead self. Feed the poor guy something that will wake him up and make him part of the story. Give him some character. Bring him to life.
- The Phantom of the Opera – He’s the villain that isn’t there. One minute you think you’ve witnessed his mysterious ways of vilifying others, but then he’s gone. Don’t leave your readers wanting more. Make your villain the villain and let him or her do their dark deeds. Give the reader something to scare them. Make him a meanie.
- The Great Pumpkin – It was a dark and stormy night. If I was Snoopy at a typewriter, telling the story may be cute, but since we’re not in a Peanuts cartoon, we need to be professional in our writing style. Show me the glint of the moon … don’t tell me about it.
- The Wicked Witch of the West – Dorothy needs to land a house on this one. If you want to be a writer, you should learn proper grammar. It blows me away how many new writers (and sometimes a multi-published author or two—usually the self-published sort) don’t know how to place modifiers or close quotation marks or spell words correctly. Grammar and spelling are of utmost importance to word workers. If you don’t know how to use them properly, you’re likely to lose out on the dream of a publishing contract. Take the time to learn so you can succeed at achieving your dreams. Don’t try to wing it. The monkeys won’t always be there to do the work for you…
Alycia W. Morales is an award-winning freelance editor and author. Her clients have won the Selah Award, BRMCWC Director’s Choice Award, and many others. Her writing has been published in Thriving Family magazine, Splickety Love, and several compilation books. She is a member of ACFW, the president of Cross n’ Pens critique group, and a BRMCWC Conference Assistant.
Alycia blogs at The Write Editing and Life. Inspired.
When she isn’t busy writing, editing, and reading, Alycia enjoys spending time with her husband and four children taking hikes in Upstate SC and NC, creating various crafts, coloring in adult coloring books, and watching TV.