In my blog, I’ve mentioned the importance of checking your work through for mistakes. It’s so easy to miss a full stop off the end of a sentence, misspell a word, place speech marks in the wrong place, leave a word out or add one in where there shouldn’t be one and so on. Some of my students ask if it really makes that much difference when an editor or competition judge is looking through a piece of writing. One judge I know has had to make the decision between awarding first prize to a brilliant short story with no mistakes and a brilliant short story full of mistakes. In the end, it was no contest. The one with no mistakes was given the prize. You want to give yourself every chance of being published so always check your work.
In the following opening page from a short story, there are ten deliberate mistakes. See if you can spot them. Then check your own work as thoroughly and see what you find. I’m no angel; I make mistakes too but I always do my best to read my work through to minimise them.
The Blue Balloon
Jennifer hated the bright blue balloon. She stared at it, tears falling freely down her face. She stabbed it with her nail, wanting to burst it, to banish it from her mind. But up ti bounced, buoying gently towards her
she pushed it away, then pulled her at sweater sleeves before wrapping her arms round herself.
“Jenny…” a voice softly spoke. Hands reached out.
Jenny turns away from her husband.
“Jenny”! more urgently this time.
She clenched her fists, swinging rond.
“If you hadn’t insisted on buying that balloon, he wouldn’t have… her breath caught in her throat.
This time, she aloud the arms to enfold her and the the loving lips to brush her hair.
“It’s alright, he’s been found.”
Her head snapped up, eyes searching the scene before her and finding khaki trousers and a red top.
“Blue balloon!” the little boy said, his eyes alight.