Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
Writing a book is challenging, and many people often ask themselves what mistakes they can make to prevent their book from becoming a failure. The answer is not as simple as you might think, especially if this is your first time writing a book. There are many mistakes that you can make, and everyone should avoid these mistakes. This article provides the best tips for beginners and those who have already written their books and need to re-edit them.
List of Mistakes Newbie Writers Make While Writing Books
So, you want to write but are clueless about where to begin? The road to becoming a published author is filled with highs and lows, including many peaks and valleys. You’ll inevitably make some mistakes as a new writer learning the ropes. That’s fine, but here’s a list of common blunders (in no particular order) that’ll help you avoid them.
1 – A Mundane Introduction
It’s all about first impressions. The setting or a mundane occurrence like waking up from a dream or conversing with oneself in a mirror is frequently the subject of the first paragraph. We don’t learn anything about the plot or character, not just because these clichés exist.
They’ll keep reading when you make readers interested in a character and their reasons for doing something. Who are they, and what do they want?
That’s why it’s crucial to hook your audience immediately in the first paragraph (or the first sentence). See here for more information on writing introductions.
2 – Excessive Backstory
Whenever you don’t know what the story is about and only tell “how” it happens without delving into why or how a character feels isn’t enough to hook in your audience.
Essentially, you’re repeating yourself repeatedly by constantly writing how a person’s life was destroyed by something wrong (mortgage crisis). If these stories were as interesting as Richard Branson‘s surviving death-defying attempts etc., then I don’t think so.
There’s a reason why we read fiction – to escape reality and enjoy the journey/action (and forget a part of real life). Write short stories that involve more dialogue and banter, also called an inner monologue, or only write what makes sense for your narrative sequence even if you’re ignoring rules like “show not tell” in daily writing practice.
3 – Lack of Genre Knowledge or Research
You’ll often see that a writer knows nothing about the genre. For example: If your story takes place in different settings, how would you explain each of them to an audience if they had never read this book? And likewise with character development and supporting details like names or dates etc.
The best way is through research, as mentioned at length here. However, some genres (like love stories) lend themselves much better to experimentation over craftsmanship.
This could be an issue if you stick to a generic format and cannot tell your story from the genre. Or choose different genres as, at times, “the rules” of fiction, even in rare cases, are made affordable if written with care (fantasy writing).
4 – Weak Plot or Inconsistent Writing Style
When a writer tries to write in too many different styles, it’s not just hard for writers to figure out which writing style they’re supposed to use. It’s also tough on readers who often have trouble understanding your story.
Worst of all is when both reader and the author are confused by something that makes sense entirely elsewhere but doesn’t here (even if you did research). Comments like “it didn’t make sense” or “it didn’t develop well enough.”
How to reduce plots and descriptions, dialogues, etc., without cutting things out? Sometimes the best place for a bit of exposition is in one of your character’s thoughts which can then be split off into paragraphs later (or cut altogether by temptation).
5 – Lack of Editing
The biggest enemy of writing is a lack of editing. A writer who constantly edits their work will amaze readers and make it easier for them to identify with your characters. You didn’t give much power to the writer’s words over their actions or feelings so that people could relate to your characters.
Subtractions, additions, or edits made cleanly deserve super applause and bonus points.
Otherwise, the reader will not be happy because it feels like nobody changed anything at all (even if they did).
6 – Too Much Cliche
The cliches or motivational phrases can be applied to any literary work. It makes the reader think it is irrelevant enough and therefore takes away from the narrative flow. Don’t describe how long your characters wear their coats, dresses, etc. Do you know why they have them on?
What exactly happened in their lives when they took off those outer garments? Do these questions intrigue readers into reading more? Or does it give them the impression that the author is lazy?
So, the use of too much cliche doesn’t ever work!
7 – Unrealistic Characters
There is no way for the writers who write about “realistic characters” to save their novels when they become real. As we said, only fiction can allow us to play a role in someone’s life and make it seem like everything happens because of our decisions or actions, which may be fun since fiction feels more like another world than reality.
But there must be something realistic (not cliche) about your writing style, too, so that the narrative doesn’t end up feeling over-familiar. And this is hard to accomplish; however, you can modulate your ideas through significant dialogue edits that shall remain true to or against real life (instead of what’s already been tweeted by celebrities).
FAQs on the beginner mistakes in Writing a Book
What makes a book poorly written?
Answer: A poorly written book is often plagued by poor grammar and spelling errors, a lack of exciting and well-developed characters, a plot full of holes, and a dull and lifeless writing style. These problems can stem from basic mistakes such as not knowing the correct rules for proper sentence structure or using simple common words when more creative options would be more effective. These errors may go unnoticed because the author has failed to proofread their work correctly.
As a result, readers are left with an unpleasant reading experience that becomes difficult to slog through, given how many editing mistakes there are, to produce polished manuscripts that are error-free and captivating enough to hold the reader’s attention long term.
Is writing the first draft hard, and what is its significance for new writers?
Answer: Writing the first draft is more complex than writing an entire draft. But the first draft will help you eliminate any significant mistakes while publishing a novel. When we say the first draft, we mean that you need the first paragraph or your introduction and other paragraphs, which can be divided into five parts: Prologue, main/first body part, second body part, etc.
How to write compelling backstories?
Answer: When writing backstories, try to make the new information interesting but not repetitive. If you want readers to know more about your character, wait until later in the story. The backstories serve as a background for your characters and give them depth to fit into their setting (and yours). When it comes time for backstories about secondary characters who play roles in helping move on with the main plotline of your novel or short story collection, create these by adding backstory at a later point during the book or short story collection. This will allow your characters to grow and get more interesting as you prepare for turning them into main characters in a connecting sequel of their own—and we all love that!
What is the importance of creative writing?
Answer: Forget the hype and ditch writing pants – creative writing is about having fun. It’s all those whiteboards covered with ideas, characters, colours, and words that have inspired creative writers over time who are still writing their books today using the techniques they learned in school or college (or, in some cases…as adults).
So, there you have it! Writing a book can be an enriching experience, but it’s not without its challenges. This blog post outlined some of the most common mistakes beginners make when writing a book. As mentioned above, avoiding these mistakes is essential to ensuring a high-quality finished product. Start writing creatively and begin with your first draft to avoid making these common mistakes!
Hi, I am a doctor by profession, but I love writing and publishing ebooks. I have self-published 3 ebooks which have sold over 100,000 copies. I am featured in Healthline, Entrepreneur, and in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology blog.
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