Considering that most writers utilize some form of word processing program to write their novels (gone are the days of the hand-scribbled manuscripts), some of these mistakes are unacceptable. Of course, not even the spelling & grammar checker can catch all mistakes, which is why editors have not been pushed out of the market yet. Sometimes, you just need a good eye to locate the blatant mistakes that - although they have eluded the author - will leap off the page and smack your reader in the face.
Here is a quick run-down of the most annoying mistakes currently plaguing manuscripts across the world:
Nothing bothers me more than incorrect spelling. Some readers may not catch this, but if you have intelligent readers - which, let's be honest, are the best type of readers - your work may not see the light of day again.
Occasionally, autocorrect takes on a mind of its own (It's become Self Aware!), and changes misspelled words into the completely wrong word. For example, one manuscript I had been reviewing used the word technology where it clearly should have said technically.
Nobody wants to read through a barrage of unnecessary words. Wordiness refers to one of these issues: whether it’s redundancy, stating the obvious or packing a sentence with excess detail and unnecessary modifiers. Cut the fat - nobody wants to muddle through it to find the story.
Oh heavens, does this drive me insane! The biggest inconsistency that I see in my editing and/or reading is incorrect character names. If Rebecca and Paul are the only two in the room, but the next line says that Ethan has left room - I will most likely put the book down (unless I am editing it, in which case, you'll be seeing red.). This goes for places, character descriptions, and back stories. You need to make sure that your details all match up because your reader will notice immediately if they don't. Of course, hopefully, your editor has noticed the error before it lands in a reader's lap... but that's another story.
Similar to the story inconsistencies - voice inconsistency is another huge no, no. While an editor is most likely to have caught this and demanded a full-blown re-write, the self-publishing tool has now allowed this one major issue to creep onto the market. When writing or editing, you want to make sure that your book flows - and that begins with the narration. Do not flip flop from first-person to third-person narration, or switch perspective without any obvious breaks.
While editors are there for a reason, being a writer does require having some command of the English language. Remember, in most cases, the editors work for the publishing house (unless you've independently hired one for a self-pub). You want to put your best foot forward any time you send in a manuscript.
So what have we learned today?
If you have an editor, it is best to edit your own work before you send it in. If you are self-publishing, make sure to hire a reputable editor. It's one thing to make your editor pull their hair out, it's quite another to make your reader do it!