All writers make mistakes, but how can we identify what to do and what not to? In this article, I’ll do my best to exemplify some of the things that all fiction writers should avoid.
Common Writing Mistakes:
1. Making excuses.
The world is full of people who have the potential to be great writers. Unfortunately they never reach that goal, because they’re too busy making excuses. The fact is: writers write. They don’t sit around and wait for ideas to come, they make them come. So:
-Don’t give up because you were rejected by a publisher.
-Don’t give up because of harsh criticism… from anyone.
-Don’t wait for inspiration to come, seek it out. (Don’t give in to writers block.)
-Don’t pretend that you’re too old, or to young to start. There is no correct age to write.
-Don’t blame others for lack of time.
-Don’t let exhaustion stop you from writing.
-Don’t pretend that your writing isn’t good enough. You’re not going to get any better by not writing.
-Don’t make excuses.
2. Expecting miracles.
It takes time to become a successful writer. It takes persistence, doggedness, and hard work. Don’t expect to write a best seller only a year after you start writing. While this may occur with a lucky few, it’s not the reality for most. It takes practice to become a great writer. Furthermore, nobody will ever be a perfect writer. Writing is a craft that requires constant practice, and a writer can only ever get better.
So, write a lot, and be persistent with publishers, agents, etc. Don’t let fear or rejection get you down, you can only get better. Work hard, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful writer.
3. Starting slow.
Why start a story out slow, when you can captivate your audience from the very beginning? The reality is, you’re not going to suck the reader into your story by providing them with a static description of the scene in which the story is taking place. And you aren’t going to capture their interest by setting up the story with a history lesson, describing the characters past.
Many readers will put down the book if the very first sentence doesn’t capture their attention.
So, start the story right away. Dive right in. Don’t hesitate, readers (and editors) are impatient. Begin with an inciting event. A threat, or a moment of fear. For instance, if the main character has a knife to his throat in the very first sentence or paragraph, the reader is far more likely to stick around.
4. Flowery descriptions.
Don’t get me wrong, description is an important element in fiction writing. However, if you over describe you’re likely to lose your readers in a sea of lavish words. Every writer needs to keep this in mind: a story should constantly move. Lengthy descriptions with flowery writing stop the story, and readers stop too. Keep your writing simple, and your readers will stick around longer.
5. Losing cause.
One thing that fiction writers often lose sight of is the fact that they have to be honest. They have to be true to the characters and true to the story line. The story has to be believable, even though it’s fiction. Don’t make anything happen in your story without a reason. If there’s any event in your story that’s not relevant to the story line or true to your characters, delete it. If you don’t, your story will lose credibility. Your readers will sense that, and stop reading.
6. Using real people in your story.
While it’s true that you have to make your characters as real as you possibly can, don’t use real people in your story. Real people don’t often come across as vivid, interesting characters. This is because characters have to be a little exaggerated. Characters need some kind of stand-outish trait that will force the reader to take interest. They need traits that will allow the reader to sympathize with them. But, don’t go overboard. The character still needs to be believable and relateable. Most importantly, stay honest to that character once you’ve created him.
7. Fearing the word “said”.
Writers often avoid the word “said” because it can reappear frequently in large dialogue sequences. Don’t. When writing dialogue, “said” should be used at least ninety percent of the time. If you’re filling your dialogue with unnecessary words such as “soothed”, “sighed”, “breathed”, or something even worse, such as: “breathed soothingly”, you’ll only distract your readers. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to illustrate that your character is shouting (honestly, shouting can usually be represented with an exclamation point), whispering, or asking something, use the word “said”.
No writer should need to use anything else, because the dialogue should speak for itself. The dialogue will ultimately be stronger without flowery words.
8. Avoiding conflict.
No matter what genre you’re writing in, don’t avoid conflict. Conflict makes the story interesting. A story without conflict (for instance, a story about an old lady sitting in a rocking chair, and looking at the scenery is hardly interesting. Unless, of course, she plays witness to some sort of conflict happening in the distance, or right in front of her.). Without conflict your story will be about nothing. Nothing except description. And, sadly, as interesting as your description may be, it probably won’t be enough to keep the reader hooked.
9. Lecturing the reader.
Never, under any circumstances, should a writer throw a slew of facts into the readers face. If at any point in your story the reader feels as if he’s being lectured, you’re doing something wrong. A story is not an essay. If there’s something you need your readers to know, find a way to do it while remaining true to the characters’ viewpoint. Integrate this information into the story. You can achieve this by making an event in the story trigger this information. Your character might be remembering it, for instance.
10. Losing sight of viewpoint.
Don’t forget whose story you’re telling. Or, who’s telling the story. Viewpoint is a very important element of fiction writing. So, whose story are you telling? Once you figure that out, you’ll have your main character. Once you know that, stick to that characters story, and don’t lose sight of it. After that, your reader should be able to experience everything in that story the way the main character sees it.
Post by: Savanna Y Lujan
Categories: Writing Tips Tags: 10 most common writing mistakes, become a successful writer, becoming a successful writer, common writing mistakes, fiction writers, goal, great writers, harsh criticism, inspiration, main character, mistakes, most common writing mistakes, myforgottenpen, myforgottenpen a progressive writing guide, progressive writing guide, publish a story, publishers, rejected by a publisher, start the story, start writing, story, write, write a best seller, writers, writers block, Writing, writing guide, writing help, writing mistakes, writing steps, writing tips