What can you do to improve your writing?

Over the years, I have been asked to review published books. I have always been glad to provide a review for a fellow author but have noticed some troubling trends that I would like to share. When ask to review a book I read the book entirely. I give the book an honest and truthful review. My goal is to provide the potential reader an analysis that they can use to make an informed decision about which books to read. Let me share the trends with you.

Misspelled words were left in most of the books I reviewed. This is not the case of a word spelled correctly used incorrectly. These are words spelled wrong that could easily have been caught by a typical spell check in the word processing software. My first recommendation to improve your writing is to use the spell check provided with your word processing software.

Most of the books I reviewed also had basic grammar errors. Most of the errors involved the comma. This is another area that could be improved by using a standard grammar checker found in most word processing software. My second recommendation to improve your writing is to use the grammar checker provided with your word processing software.

Most of the books I reviewed also had basic grammar errors. Most of the errors involved the comma. This is another area that could be improved by using a standard grammar checker found in most word processing software. My second recommendation to improve your writing is to use the grammar checker provided with your word processing software.
Many of the books I reviewed were poorly written. Some included sentences that made little or no sense. Other sentences were fragments. Many of these errors could have been caught by the author editing their work. However, many required an editor. My third recommendation is to review your work and if you plan to share or publish the work hire an editor.

When I review non-fiction books, I find the author has no authority. By this, I mean that the author has not demonstrated that he or she is an expert on the topic of the book. To exacerbate this problem the author does not reference any experts for the information in the book. This means a book about a subject is written by someone who may not be informed on that subject that has chosen not to reference experts on the subject. My first question is why would I read that book? The obvious answer is that I would not. My fourth recommendation is to be an expert in the topic you are writing about or reference experts in your work to validate the information. In either case, expert information is needed.

When I review non-fiction books, I find the author has no authority. By this, I mean that the author has not demonstrated that he or she is an expert on the topic of the book. To exacerbate this problem the author does not reference any experts for the information in the book. This means a book about a subject is written by someone who may not be informed on that subject that has chosen not to reference experts on the subject. My first question is why would I read that book? The obvious answer is that I would not. My fourth recommendation is to be an expert in the topic you are writing about or reference experts in your work to validate the information. In either case, expert information is needed.

Books that I review that use references don’t use a standard format. For example, some of the citations and references will be from the American Psychology Association (APA) while others will be from the Modern Language Association (MLA), and still others use the Chicago Style Guides (Chicago). The result is pure confusion. My fifth and final recommendation is to use a single format when citing and referencing material.

This short blog post is a quick reminder of the errors authors make in their written works. If you want to improve your writing:

1. Use the spell and grammar check in the word processing software.
2. Have written work edited by a professional.
3. Be an expert in the topic or reference and cite experts to validate the information
4. Use one format when quoting and referencing experts.

About Fred Fanning Author

Fred Fanning spent over 20 years in the safety profession. His final safety position was as the Director of Occupational Safety and Health for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He began writing in 1994, published his first book in 1998, and began writing professionally in 2015. He has authored and coauthored articles, written books, and chapters for technical books and stories for anthologies.
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