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10 Glaring Mistakes Beginning Writers Make

Watch for these 10 Glaring Beginner Mistakes
Diana here:

Excited about writing that first big novel? Or second or third? The truth is writing is great, but you must continue to learn the craft or your work won’t get better.

And better is what you want, right?

In my side job, I get to read a lot of first-time author’s books. In them, I find glaring beginner mistakes that pop up over and over.

Dialogue riddled with unnecessary he said, she said dialogue tags
 Once you have your point of view character established in each scene you can almost always leave them out. Instead, have your characters do something that works within that scene.

Not using contractions
Using can not, will not, should not all make the book longer but not in a good way. It slows the pacing of the book and tires the reader.

Using knee-jerk words
When writing a historical look up your words on Etymology.com and see when they first came into use. You don’t want to use a 21st century word in the 18th century.

Sentence length is the same throughout the scene
Vary the number of words, break up long sentences into shorter ones to increase the pacing for the reader. The shorter the sentence, the more tension you create.

Shifting Timelines
When you edit or when plotting, make sure events are happening in the correct order.

Using adverbs to start a sentence
Actually, really, usually, suddenly are all words that take away from the power of story.

Sentence order or action order confuses the reader
Walk through the order in your mind, don’t have your character do something like this: Dexter tossed his keys on the bed as soon as he closed the door behind him. Instead: Dexter closed the door and then tossed his keys onto the bed.

Using thought and wonder
Change those moments into direct thought. Instead of: Dexter wondered if he had practice tonight. Try this: Dexter checked his phone, no messages, did he have practice tonight?

Not ending on a hook
This is a hard skill to learn, and I’m still working on it. Don’t end a chapter by resolving the biggest issue in the scene, drag it out and make the reader keep going.The master of this in our group is Liz Tolsma, get her books and see how she ends chapters making you stay up all night to finish her book.

Shifting point of view within one scene
Just don’t. It marks you as a beginner. It’s not easy to stick to one point of view at a time, but it can be done with a little thought. Have your secondary character reacting outwardly will let the reader know what he/she might be thinking.

Read through your work and see if you spot some of these, then fix them.

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  1. Thank you for neatly laying these out.

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for leaving a comment. :)