Do You Make These 5 Mistakes?

14df47ff-a6a3-4856-b6c5-e0bc63f2a94d_zpsj2npso91I don’t know about you, but I hate making mistakes. I think the number of errors one makes in life should decrease exponentially with age. But then, nobody asked me.

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. Forgetting who you’re writing forhint, 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.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

  Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”



Why I Write


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As long as I can remember, I loved putting words to paper, expanding on the great mysteries or the miseries of my young life. It was a way to get my point across without being shushed.

Introduction to the magic of words came early for me, as my mother was a voracious reader. She belonged to more than one book-of-the-month-club and even as young children, we were fortunate she passed the books to us, without censorship.

In between those many pages, I met a world of different people. Their words painted vivid pictures and gave breath to the hopes, fears, and dreams of a girl. In spite of her love of the written word, my mom repeatedly warned me, “Don’t ever  put anything in writing; you don’t want others to see.” Perhaps mom’s voice was the words from her books.

It would come later as a young, naïve girl before I understood the damage others could do when words are misconstrued, distorted, taken out of context or endure the deep cut of betrayal. I learned the hard way and after that hid my words away.

I’m an average woman, professional in background, a mother, grandmother, wife, friend, and a writer. I write now because I have a voice, and I can.

  • I write for catharsis, a purging of past sins, regrets, hopes, and dreams.
  • I write to share what knowledge and experiences I’ve acquired with those I love, hopeful they’ll be spared a wrong turn or learn the joy of sunny days.
  • I write to voice my opinion, my values, the very things I believe make the world, and us better people.
  • I write not that, in the end, my singular voice matters more than others do, or will move mountains, but perhaps, it will become one of many and create a chorus of positive change.
  • I write to expand my imagination and free my demons; we all have them.
  • I write to bring pleasure and encourage others to stretch their word wings, tell stories, real or imagined.
  • I write to leave a legacy to those I leave behind. Egotistical perhaps, but I want to surprise them. “That was mom? Sheila? She did that?” I don’t want to be forgotten or remembered only in faded photos or as the name on a bronze marker.

I write because I believe words have power. The power to move people, change them and change the world. After years of writing by a stream in a cow pasture, hiding my words from the world, between the pages of a worn-down journal, I have found my voice, and so I write.