Over on Donna Hanson’s blog, she lists these mistakes. Having done a lot of manuscript appraisal over the years I can tell you she is spot on. The list is long, because people do make a lot of different mistakes. Some you can work around, some you can fix easily. But sometimes the mistakesare instrinsic to the writing and then it is just a matter of putting the book aside and starting again.
Her list is really comprehensive, but there’s two things I would add:
Point of View. Don’t skip from head to head within a scene. I once read a 7 page scene with 11 POV changes. POV is powerful, use the changes sparingly. Signal when you do change the view point. Do it for a reason, to reveal something the other character wouldn’t know and only do it once within a scene. I’ve switched to staying in one character’s head for the whole of a scene, simply for clarity.
World Building Flaws. This is my personal bug bear. Every time I come across a flaw in world building it throws me out of the story. Women rule the country. OK. Why? Power rests with the powerful. Why do women rule? Do your research and build the world consistently.
Many thanks to Donna for her post on common flaws in manuscripts. Now, I’ll go back and take another look at my current work-in-progress.
Never hurts to review and a writer never stops learning.
NOTE: Donna has since added a post on world building and pointof view. See it here. Go Donna!