Common Errors in Writing

October 26, 2009

BanWith the manuscript for my second novel now completed and off with the proof readers, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way.  When starting out as a novelist, these were some of the mistakes I made and have since learned are pet hates of editors.  It’s tough enough to get your manuscript read these days, without turning the editor off right from the start with these common errors.  If you follow these guidelines, it will make the difference between you looking like a professional writer and an amateur, and maybe get your manuscript the true attention it deserves!

 1)      Use active, not passive voice (where things aren’t done by anyone)

eg. He ate the food (active) versus The food was eaten (passive)

2)      Remove filters which create a psychic distance between the reader and character by putting the author in between.

Eg.       Thought





3)      Autonomous body parts – may be taken literally and stop reader to make sense of them eg. her eyes fell to the table > her glance fell to the table

4)      Put cause before effect – action first followed by reaction

            eg. her spine shivered as the snake hissed > snake should hiss first

5)      Don’t use names too often in dialogue – we don’t talk like that in real life

6)      Delete the word that if the sentence makes sense without it

7)      Separate actions – can’t do some things simultaneously – use then instead of and to show chronological order eg. She opened the door then walked into the room

8)      Identify pronouns, eg. Fred went to his brother’s place to get his hat.  Whose hat?  Recast sentence, eg. get the hat he left there / borrow his hat

9)       Consistency – no discrepancies in the logic of the story or changes in description

10)   Point of View – don’t jump heads, one POV character per scene to avoid confusion

11)   Keep tense (past, present, future) and person (first, second, third) in mind and consistent

12)   No history lessons in dull chunks.  As a more interesting alternative, put it in a person’s head and show how they think about.

13)   Don’t make a sentence try to do too much.  To shorten sentences, look for words like:

that                               as

however                       and

because                        while


Wooed by the WOO Girls

October 7, 2009


 Brisbane, QLD, 14th September 2009 

Wooed by WOO

WOO Girls with Ian Jay of 612 ABC

The Women on Oxford Writers Group, affectionately referred to as the WOO Girls, successfully launched themselves as professional writers on Monday night at Riverbend Books.  Their first group publication A Pocket Full of Wry  was warmly received by guests, book reviewer Ian Jay from ABC Radio, along with special guest Councillor Shayne Sutton who had the opportunity to read the book before the night and opened the evening with a witty and warm welcome to all.

The night fitted perfectly with the theme of the book, ‘irony’, with a thunderstorm striking its high note just at the very moment local talent Geraldine Andersen was reading her murderous story that coincidently also had a storm in it.  The audience was held captivated for the next hour with beautiful songs from Caroline McCarthy, moving poetry from Nadine Mathias and a fast and funny exerpt from Bella Scott’s short story Falling Stars.  ‘The night was a big success for us all,’ commented Lea Scott whose published crime thriller, The Ned Kelly Game, has received strong publicity and praise throughout the literary world.  Julie Didlick, one of the contributors to the book and the groups’ longest standing member, warmly recounted the history of the group, praising the WOO girls for their creativity and support for each other leading up to the event and is looking forward to their second publication A Twist in the Tail  that is due for release next year.

A Pocket Full of Wry is available for purchase online at: and at Riverbend Books on Oxford St, Bulimba.

The Women on Oxford meet every fortnight at the Bulimba Library between 11.00am – 1.00pm.  It is a small group that supports beginners through to more experienced writers and is always looking for new members.  Please feel free to contact Julie on 0414 691 939 or Jade on 0407 371 567  for more details on the group. 


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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained…

July 23, 2009

It’s one month on since the launch of my book, and what a ride it’s been.  You may have taken that ride with me as I’ve shared my appearances in the social pages and my feature article.  I also received interest from TV’s Brisbane Extra program, only to be bitterly disappointed when 3 days later the program was axed.  Not to be deterred, I’ve since been offered a potential ABC radio review for my book and have been invited to undertake my first speaking engagement.     

In this time I’ve also sold a lot of books.  I waited, cringing ever so slightly, for the first opinions to come in.  This was, after all, my baby.  I gave birth to it through a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  I wanted to shield it from the harsh realities of life…from rejection and criticism. 

“I’ve almost finished your book!” I started to hear.  I put on my best smile and tentatively said “Great, let me know what you think.” 

And they did…  “Wow, it was a great read!”  “I couldn’t put it down!”  “It was a real page-turner!”  “I never expected the twist!” 

My smile grew.  I’ve read that great love involves great risk.  I’ve taken my love and I’ve put it on the line, and that risk has paid off.  And I can’t even begin to describe how good that feels. 

I encourage everyone with a love of writing to go out there and do the same.  A writers job is to entertain…to provoke thought…to share.    

On that note, I’d like to share this lovely post I received from one of my new fans.

To The Author……. Lea Scott.

As I am not an avid reader and don’t have a lot of time for reading I was given the book “The Ned Kelly Game.” as a gift.  Starting to read the pages I found myself anxious to know the outcome of the plot “Who done it?”  It had been a week and I was only half way through the book.

It was a quite Saturday afternoon usually a very rowdy suburb but people everywhere else where doing their thing.  I grabbed the opportunity to curl up on the lounge chair as it was a cold winter afternoon determined to finish the book…to find the outcome.

As I was coming up to the final scene not a sound was to be heard outside.  It set the scene for what was to be read next.  The adrenaline was starting to build up with the question of…

“Well!  who did do it?” whirling round in my head. 

Wow!!!  you would never guess until the last chapter…… then you still weren’t really sure until the last bit.

No! I’m not going to tell you…. Read the book and discover who was “Ned”  you’ll be as surprised as I was.

Congratulations Lea and I wish you much success with “The Ned Kelly Game.” 

A Newly-appreciative Reader




Lea Scott