I am not the grammar police. Half of my writing makes zero sense (see number 2 below). There are probably mistakes in this paragraph. I cannot claim to know it all when it comes to writing tips. I have never taken a writing class, but I have written a lot of papers. Here are a few things I try to personal live by when writing, just like I try to remember certain photography tips when I take photos. I am always trying to improve.
By the way, I was in COLLEGE when I finally realized it's "would have" or "could have" and NOT "would of" and "could of." I must have driven my professors crazy.
1. BIGGEST PET PEEVE: A person is a WHO, not a that! I know someone WHO has a new car. The little girl in the pink jacket, WHO lives next door. My son, who goes to college, play hockey. I don't know why this drives me insane. But seeing a sentence such as "Here is my cousin that is twelve" makes me want to grind my teeth. I see it everyday on Facebook. I am sure I have made the same mistake too though.
2. Do not write when tired. Or sick. Or in a chemotherapy induced fog. Get some sleep and try again later. And make sure to reread what you tried to write earlier. It might be quite hilarious. This is hard for me, because I am tired and groggy 80% of the day, and the other 20% I try to save for Brycen.
3. Limit the use of the words "got" and "get." Even as a child I was told this one. Still, I catch myself all the time overusing them - Charlotte got three inches of snow. Does Charlotte received three inches of snow sound better? Yes. When I taught advanced first grade we made a graveyard for overused words like "get/got" and "good" and "make/made" and "said" and some other overused words. which brings me to number 4 . . .
4. Use a thesaurus. I love the thesaurus tool on most computer programs. Especially since I am not one to know big words. And it is worse lately, with chemo, I have words on the tip of my tongue, or so they say, and cannot quite retrieve it from memory.
5. Limit the use of that. Instead of saying "My car that is going to win the race," try "my car is going to win the race." I find almost 95% of the time, I do not need to use the word that.
6. Know the difference between you/you're, its/it's, they're/their/there and here/hear. I will admit, if I have a typo, it is almost always with the wrong they're/there/their. I know the difference, but if I am typing too fast I get it wrong, which leads me to number 7 . . .
7. REREAD your writing before you hit the publish or post button. I do this and I still have mistakes. The piece I wrote about Kodiak Island? I must have reread it 9 times, and I am sure someone else could read it and find more errors.
8. For the love of all things sacred, there is NO A in definitely! You are spelling defiantly, and spell check won't catch it.
9. Something I need to work on - a little fourth or firth grade lesson for life - use the 5 senses when writing. What did you smell? What did you taste? Etc.
10. Another thing I am trying to improve on: staying in the same tense throughout a story. I usually write stories in the past tense, then realize I'm suddenly in the present. This has always been an issue with me.
After writing all this I want to take a writing class!
What are your writing tips or pet peeves?