It doesn’t matter whether you are a brand new writer or someone who has already written and published a couple of books – you can never learn too much about your writing craft and how to constantly improve yourself as a writer.
Here are some common mistakes that every aspiring author must learn to avoid while writing fiction.
A Little Disclaimer First
It is important to mention here that avoiding certain common mistakes is specifically important for new writers because a new writer is more likely to struggle with some things. But also, if you are a super-experienced writer, sometimes what happens is that the more experience you get, the more you tend to forget about the basics.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you haven’t mastered the basics – because, for obvious reasons, you might have already mastered the basics. It only means that sometimes we get overly focused on trying some new technique and forget the basic things.
Mistake #1 – Lack of Dialogue
This is definitely something that the new aspiring writers tend to do more often; as for the experienced writers, dialogue tends to come more naturally.
That said, if you are someone who has never written a novel before, there is a great chance that you will struggle a little bit with the dialogue.
A lot of new writers follow the concept of showing and less telling. And this is specifically true when it comes to dialogue. Sometimes, writers will sum up a conversation instead of taking us through the conversation.
Nonetheless, you get the point – it is super important to have dialogue in your story to simply put the reader fully immersed in the story.
One of the easiest ways to learn how to write dialogue is by reading many books by the authors whose styles you want to follow. All you need to do is to observe how the author uses dialogue in their book.
The bottom line is that you must avoid the mistake of lacking dialogue. What you want to do is to use dialogue and use it often – it is a great way for your characters to express themselves and their unique personalities.
Besides, it is much more effective than just summing up a conversation when you can actually have the characters have the conversation.
Mistake #2 – Punctuation
Punctuation is a struggle that isn’t limited to aspiring newbie authors – many well-established authors struggle with punctuation. Let us face this fact – commas can be difficult.
Well, as a writer, you can kind of get away with not having good grammar skills because ideally – you will either want to hire an editor – or – your publishing house will provide you with one editor. Who knows – you might as well hire one of the best literary fiction ghostwriters and ask them to spruce your manuscript.
Nonetheless, you will make the life of your editor and proofreader so much easier when you actually put some effort into learning proper punctuation because this way, it gets a lot more technical than just commas, periods, and exclamation marks.
Mistake #3 – Lack of Description
This mistake usually falls a little bit more on the advanced side of writing – especially in the sense that the beauty lies in the details. We are talking about the nitty-gritty details that authors use that make the readers put back their books and actually think about the scene or description they just read.
When you create descriptive prose instead of giving short, boring statements, it becomes much more interesting to your readers as they can live the moments with you and see things unfold through words.
Ideally, the description should be as detailed as to make the readers say – wow.
And this is also the best way to make your readers fall in love with your writing because they are definitely falling in love with the way you tell your story.
Of course, we can tell stories through action – but once you get hold of the descriptions – it transforms into your story.
Instead of putting simple statements, such as –, she did that. He did this. Someone died (you see, these simple examples show how boring a lack of description can be). As an author, you must make sure that your story is beautiful.
And the number one thing that makes your story beautiful is how the words are intertwined together.
Mistake #4 – Making Your Readers Think
We are not referring to the ideal thinking process that a reader makes when they read something, put the book down, and think about the story for a long time.
Typically, at this point, the reader is so impressed with the story’s description and essence that they have to put the book aside and think about it – sometimes even for a long time.
The mistake we are discussing to avoid is when your reader is in the middle of reading your story, and they have to think about the story only because suddenly it doesn’t make sense to them.
If, at any point, the reader has to pause, scratch their head, and think about what they have just read – it means that you have done something wrong. It might even be something as stupid as grammar. It can, however, be something more complex, such as a plot hole.
Maybe, you just did something really weird, and it threw your readers off.
You get the point – you want to keep your reader fully immersed in the story – and there are loads of ways you can accomplish that. For instance, you might want to focus on drawing relatable characters. Also, you will want to make your story realistic, and you will want your story to make sense.
As we mentioned, you will have to pay attention to punctuation and proper spelling. Make sure that you thoroughly proofread your manuscript before hitting publication. Make sure that a copy editor goes through the story and that it also passes through a professional proofreader’s eyes before it gets published.
Besides, you will have to go through your story as well – if it is confusing to you – it will be more confusing to your readers. Make the necessary changes to fix the potential mistakes.