Archive for the 'Common Mechanical Mistakes' Category

Aug 21 2011

Editing Errors in Twilight

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

I saw that quite a few Twilight reviews mentioned the poor editing, so I spent 20 minutes double-checking whether the alleged editing mistakes were disputable and/or justifiable by artistic license.  So far, I’m up to eight errors that I consider indisputable and another that might be merely awkward.  I can’t remember reading any other professionally published novels with more than one typo.


Incorrect Word Choices and Tenses

1. Eclipse mixes up “whose” and “who’s.”

Twilight mixes up whose and who's


2. Twilight mixes up “moats” and “motes.”

Twilight confuses moats with dust motes

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92 responses so far

Aug 16 2011

Words Which Should Not Be Capitalized in a Title

Everything but articles, coordinating conjunctions and prepositions should be capitalized in titles.


Which words should not be capitalized in a title?

  • Articles: a, an, & the.
  • Coordinate conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet & so (FANBOYS).
  • Prepositions, such as at, around, by, after, along, for, from, of, on, to, with & without. (According to the Chicago Manual of Style, all prepositions should be uncapitalized in a title.  NIVA and I recommend capitalizing prepositions 5+ letters long).


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58 responses so far

May 31 2009

Common Writing Mistakes: Unstylish Punctuation

1.  Please don’t use multiple exclamation points or question marks. It’s far less likely to suggest that the character is really surprised than that the author is really inexperienced.  It’s cheesy.

  • REJECTION:  “I hate you, Martha!!!!”
  • REJECTION: “How could you do that to me??”

2. I recommend against giving the narrator exclamation points. “John turned around.  Then a ninja burst through the ceiling!”

3. Smiley faces are generally a poor choice in professional communication. If your novel manuscript, query or proposal use any kind of emoticon, I’m guessing (X_X).

4. Please use exclamation points sparingly. Strings of exclamations are generally disorientating and hard to process. “I’m surly! You’re not listening to me! That is unacceptable! I’m getting even surlier!”   If you use exclamations too often, they will become diluted and lose their zing.

5. Please be REALLY careful about capitalizing sentences for emphasis. “AND NOW YOU DIE, MR. BOND!”  I wouldn’t even consider doing it more than once or twice per novel.  And even that might be unnecessarily risky.

13 responses so far

Mar 26 2009

Do you have any grammatical or formatting questions?

If you have any questions about formatting a comic book script or novel manuscript, or any questions about grammar/punctuation/capitalization, please post them here.

20 responses so far

Mar 18 2009

Beat a Professional Proofreader!

Hello.  I have an exciting new game for the grammatically inclined.  Compete with B. Mac in a proofreading contest.  Those that can score 80% as many points as BM will be eligible for a volunteer moderator position.  Those that score more points than B. Mac will also receive a free Superhero Nation t-shirt.  (I’m judging the contest, but I’ll be fair).  If you’d like to compete, please download the following document and email your completed version to superheronation-at-gmail-dot-com.  The contest ends on March 27!

60 responses so far

Feb 28 2009

Writing Tip of the Day: V-I-L-L-A-I-N

The words “villain” and “supervillain” are commonly misspelled. Don’t mess them up!

One response so far