100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid – A Guide to Better Writing

Ray’s Rambling

When you’ve been writing for as long as I have (my first piece was published in 1958 when I won a national Sunday school magazine short story contest), there is a dangerous tendency to think you know all you need to know, and it’s only necessary to come up with brilliant ideas.
Well, just when you think you know it all someone comes along to pull you back jerkily to reality.100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid, by Maeve Maddox (http://www.dailywritingtips.com/100-writing-mistakes-to-avoid-book) is only 45 pages long, but like the proverbial ant in the elephant’s ear, it can have a disproportionate impact on the quality of your writing. Have you ever been pecking away at a story or article and you suddenly come to a point where you pause and puzzle over whether or not to insert a comma or semicolon? If your answer to that question is no, you probably haven’t been writing much lately. As for the rest of us, of course we have. What about showing the possessive? With words like Thomas, for instance, which is correct, Thomas’ or Thomas’s?
This can disrupt the flow of your writing and cause you to lose your train of thought. While I’m at it, spelling is another area that can cause writer headaches; is it lose or loose that is the appropriate word in the previous sentence? The three chapters of 100 Writing Mistakes covers the main areas that bedevil writers in simple language, giving examples and some discussion of historical usage. Spelling mistakes, usage, grammar, punctuation; all are covered.
Along with my AP Style Guide, Thesaurus, and dictionary, this is now the main addition to my references kept near (in this case, on) my computer as I write.
I have only one criticism of 100 Writing Mistakes, and this is pure, outright wordsmithing; it lists a fourth chapter (Punctuation) beginning on page 46. A publishing mistake for which the author can be forgiven.If you don’t already have your copy, you’re wasting precious time. Get this book and keep it handy. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing the great American novel, short stories, opinion or general news, or ad copy; 100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid will help you write better, cleaner, easier to understand copy.