I could be wrong but I think you omitted the word "their" before "chance to shine." in the first sentence. Otherwise, not too bad. I've found proofreading by another person helps, especially someone who isn't familiar with your subject. If it makes sense to them you're on the right track.
Having someone proofread IS always a good idea. Take this phrase from the paragraph that follows your poem: "...any other search engine you would prefer to us." I'm guessing you meant "any other search engine you would prefer to USE."
I have submitted a few of my stories without having someone proofread them and it shows. I do have a friend who I send my stuff to and she runs it through her spell checker, but as you said, if it's pronounced the same way, but spelled differently, the spell checker won't catch it.
It's always a good idea to have someone proofread your work. I know there are times when I read, re-read, and read my stories again and again and after awhile it all looks okay. That's when I send it to my friend to proofread. I've read the story so many times at that point, I won't catch most of my mistakes.If someone is shy about showing friends stories they write for a site like Literotica, they have lots of volunteer editors who'd be willing to help.
Thanks again for an interesting and informative How To (or in this case How NOT To)
Please Literotica Editors, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Would you do me the honour of looking up the words Discreet and Discrete.
Literotica, almost without fail, uses "Discrete" which means "Separately".
Do you good folk think you can change the meaning of the word, by using it instead of "Discreet"? I don;t think so, so please would you use "Discreet", the word that means "Tactful" as in "discreetly not mentioning the undone jacket"
It doesn't really touch on the main components that make bad writers, creative ones with poor talent, or the ones that just try too hard. Nit picking too much is a little annoying, if you can't tell what some means when they put Discreet instead of Discrete then you know where the stupidity will land. Seriously.. it's not one of those words that would cause serious confusion.. unless you were a moron.. and then you probably wouldn't notice the typo anyways.. Just wasting my own time now :P
You didn't touch on the writing sin that drives me crazy - the lack of proper paragraphing. Unless you are James Joyce, stream of consciousness is just plain annoying.
The reason there are writing rules and conventions is to make the product readable. Without that, the best composed masterpiece is wasted.
Thanks for your efforts.
I caught a first-graph error too. You used the word on when you meant or. Also, in your very first sentence, I'd have put a comma after the first phrase, but that could just be a me thing. I don't think you can have too many commas. And now, on to my biggest pet peeve on Literotica, and that's otherwise good authors who don't know that alright is not a word. It's two words, all right. You also seem to see two, to and too mixed up a lot. And I agree totally with the earlier comment about long paragraphs. With VERY rare exceptions, no more than two sentences (if that) per paragraph. Still, when you write fairly long stories (usually 3-4 pages) as I do, a few typos and missed words are going to escape the proofing process. But they always seem to jump out at me the first time I read one of my stories after it's been posted. Never fails.
A good "chapter" in a "How NOT to Write" primer. Perhaps you or somebody else could take up some other problems, such as:
1. Punctuation, especially the use of quotation marks
2. Run-on sentences, and how to avoid them
3. Somebody already mentioned paragraphs
4. Consistent tense
"Now, how many mistakes have I made? That would be ironic."
Quite a few. Your sentence structuring is at best clumsy and sometimes just wrong.
"There is one more thing that so many people forget to do, even myself and that is to proofread your work, this will help you in many ways."
Look up 'comma splice' in any grammar reference.
"or any other search engine you would prefer to us."
I like your article, but I did notice a few errors. You had a few run-ons and comma splices (use the semi-colon!), but the tense shifts in the third paragraph got my attention. Tense shift issues are pretty common on this site. Is it happening now or did it happen in the past? Pick one and stick with it!
It would be great if more writers took the time to figure out how they could improve their writing. If you are pressed for time or find it boring, I recommend a short podcast, such as Grammar Girl.
With all the nitpicking within the comments here about structure and whatnot, someone could have mentioned this one to you:
The past tense of spell is spelled. It is not, in any way shape or form, spelt.
To me, the OP is clearly not an American English user; the comment about selecting the right variant of English to use in your spellchecker is a clear sign of that. The world does not revolve around American English and all that.
With that in mind, in many non-American English dialects, the past tense of "spell" is indeed "spelt", and pronounced with a distinct "t" sound; similarly with "burnt" versus "burned", and "learnt" versus "learned". In such communities, using "spelled" (and/or failing to pronounce the "t" sound) would just make you sound like a foreigner (where foreign means any dialect of English that uses "spelled" instead of "spelt", like American English).
I think you should have had a full stop at after "proofread your work(.) This will..." instead of the comma. At least you could have used a semicolon. But I'm really nitpicking. I enjoyed the article very much, though it was a little short perhaps. You could have gone into more detail. I'm reminded of a wonderful book called "How Not to Write a Novel" by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. I highly recommend it!
Proofreading--forward and backward--is imperative.
Interesting and amusing. I shall look up the "chequer" poem in full.
A cautionary word though.
As my old English teacher wrote in the margin when I used the word 'lay' - "That's what hens do."
It encouraged me to find another word!
How many mistakes? An embarrassing number of the ones you discussed. Why didn't you catch them? More importantly, you didn't discuss run-on sentences, which clearly is one of your weaknesses as a writer. The reader needs many more commas and periods than you chose to use. From the way you started, I expected a higher level of writing and better proofreading. Sorry.
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