Writing a novel, whether it’s your first or third, is not for the faint of heart. I’m on my first, and the more I read about writing, the more mistakes jump out at me and smack me in the head. Seriously?
5 of the Most Common Mistakes Writers Make
- Write & edit at the same time – Oh Lord, I’m so guilty of this one. Every time I read another how-to, chapter one gets a makeover.
- No tension or conflict – Maxwell Anderson once said, ” The story… must be a conflict, and specifically, a conflict between the forces of good and evil within a single person. I think I’m okay with this one, but I’ll double-check – everyone loves a fist fight.
- Stereotyped characters – If your character is a bored housewife, give her a personality and quirks that make her anything but boring. “Know more about your character than you let on. It’ll show.” Aaron Miles
- A main character nobody likes – I was told many times growing up, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, keep your mouth shut.” Okay, maybe that’s not a direct quote, but we all like to feel something good about the characters we read. In one of my stories, the main character kills her husband because he becomes a weak, whiny-ass of a man. I thought she might need a tweak or two (to become more likable) but, come to think of it – I know many women who would love her.
- Forgetting who you’re writing for – hint, it’s your readers. Fine, some write because they have to, whatever that means, or for catharsis – maybe sometimes. Whatever the reason you write, if the story doesn’t engage the reader you’re doomed and so is the story. So, make it believable. Don’t write when you’re bored; it’ll show. Give them a story that keeps them up at night, flipping pages.
More on mistakes writers make? Check out Steven James article in Writer’s Digest, 5 Story Mistakes Even Good Writers Make.
What about you? Are you guilty of making these mistakes? I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook at SheilaMGood and Twitter @cofcmom.
Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”