In this week’s column, I thought I’d look at mistakes to avoid when writing a novel. Whether you are a beginner or you’ve been writing for years, I hope the links I’ve chosen will be useful. These articles relate to novel writing and I know there are some tips and advice included that I would have loved to have known when I first started writing. They can save you a lot of time.
- https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-not-to-do-when-writing-a-novel – What Not to Do When Writing a Novel: This first article is from MasterClass and it details 15 common writing mistakes to avoid. These tips can help you if you are new to writing or working on your next novel. They include things like not writing sporadically, not ignoring story structure, not second guessing yourself, not pigeon-holing yourself, sticking with your point of view, and much more. There’s tips on editing, self-publishing, querying, letting rejection get you down, and avoiding flat characters.
- https://jerichowriters.com/15-common-novel-writing-mistakes-beginner-writers-beware/ – 15 Common Novel Writing Mistakes: This article is aimed at beginner writers and lists the most common mistakes and how you can fix them. The first mistake to avoid is having a terrible concept and there is an explanation to show you what the author means. There’s advice on how to fix it as well. Other mistakes include books that don’t excite readers, not having a unique selling point, not presenting your work correctly, lack of clarity in your prose, over the top writing, using cliches, point of view mistakes, plot problems, unbelievable or bland characters, and much more. This is an excellent article for everyone to read.
- https://prowritingaid.com/art/394/The-10-Most-Common-Fiction-Writing-Mistakes.aspx – Writing Fiction? Watch Out for these 10 Common Mistakes: This article covers a number of other elements that aren’t mentioned in the first two links. There are section on poor dialogue, unrealistic characters, unlikeable characters, your story being too predictable, overusing cliches, pacing errors, setting errors, not enough conflict, jumping on genre bandwagons, and even a section on editing. There’s a lot in this article and it is well worth taking the time to read.
- https://authors.ai/mistakes-made-by-novice-authors/ – Top Rookie Mistakes Made by First-Time Novelists (and how to avoid them): This is part one of a three part series. The links to the next two parts can be found at the bottom of the post. This series looks at the 10 first-time author mistakes and in this first post the first three are covered. The first of these is lack of conflict and there is a great explanation of what this means as well as examples of how it is done right. The second mistake covered is balancing description, action, and dialogue. Again there’s a great explanation that offers plenty of advice. The third mistake covered in this article is research masquerading as dialogue. This explains how you don’t include all your research in your novel as most of what you have to research is for you only and not your readers.
- https://medium.com/learn-storycraft/6-mistakes-that-will-kill-your-stories-d46962ce9431 – 6 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Stories: This article discusses the mistake, why it is a mistake, and the solution. The mistakes include things like writing the story from the idea, treating plot and character asymmetrically, ignoring the theme of your story, creating a weak antagonist, forcing the story, and writing your story without testing it. I loved reading why these things are mistakes and what the solutions are. There is so much in this article and I highly recommend setting aside some time to read it.
- https://www.savannahgilbo.com/blog/opening-pages – 5 Mistakes Writers Make in the First Five Pages: This article looks at the mistakes writers make in their first five pages and how to avoid them when writing your first draft. You can listen to the podcast for this article or read the content. The first section explains why your first five pages are so important before jumping into the mistakes that are made. The mistakes include not giving a big enough picture to engage your readers, introducing your protagonist too late in the story, too much action and not enough context on what it means, too much backstory and worldbuilding, not having anything at stake in your opening pages. Each of the mistakes is explained and there is information on how to avoid them.
- https://www.maryadkinswriter.com/blog-entries/4-mistakes-beginning-writers-make – 4 Mistake Beginning Writers Make When Writing a Book: This article is from a writing coach and she details the 4 writing mistakes she sees beginning writers making. These include thinking there is only one right way to do it, thinking it has to be done in big chunks at a time, sticking too tightly to your original vision, and the biggest mistake of all, giving up. All of these are explained in detail and should help all beginning writers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the links this week. There’s a lot in these links so be sure to set aside some time to read them and bookmark any that you want to come back to later. If there is a topic you’d like to see me cover, all you need to do is get in touch with me via any of my social media links.
(c) Amanda J Evans