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BK Blog Post
Posted by Rachel Bartee.
Rachel Bartee is an educator, writer and editor who finds her passion in expressing her thoughts as a blogger. Her life principle is “Always do more than you can”. Get in touch with her on @rachel5bartee.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway
Although some people are better at the writing craft than others, each and every one of us is able to write to a certain extent. Furthermore, it is a skill which can be honed and developed. Some of the greatest authors of all time began by putting together simple stories without giving it much thought, let alone thinking about becoming writers. And no matter how trivial a particular piece of writing may seem, it is a learning experience through which we grow as writers and shape our style.
Now, granted, if you are just starting out, you’re going to be making a lot of mistakes, and that’s ok. We’re here to help you make that trial and error process a lot shorter with a list 7 seven most common mistakes emerging authors make.
1. Not Paying Attention to the Plot
You may be really proud of how your new book is coming together. It’s interesting and full of suspense, but one thing you need to watch out for is the plot. That’s the main reason why your readers will be into it. But, there are so many things that can go wrong with it, such as uneven pacing, logical inconsistencies, or even plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. In the word of author Elizabeth Ann Bucchianeri: “If typos are God's way of keeping a writer humble, plot holes certainly keeps one on their knees.”
2. Lame Dialogue
If your dialogues sound forced and artificial, they can pretty much ruin your work, regardless of how brilliant the plot is. Dialogue, apart from engaging the reader, should also serve as a tool which can help you develop your characters, disclose important bits of information, and provide the reader with an insight into the character’s mind or soul. In order to make your dialogues more believable, observe the people around you, write down their mannerisms, and the way they talk.
3. Editing? Why Would I Do That?
The worst thing a beginner author can do is to avoid editing their own work, whether it’s because they are in love with it, or because they find the process tedious and boring. But, apart from actual writing, editing is the most crucial stage when you are working on something new, according to Jackie Robinson, who is a senior writer and editor at AU EssaysOnTime: “Editing your first draft will help you tighten up your ideas and your style. It’s almost like carving a sculpture out of a single block of marble.”
4. Relying on Clichés a Lot
Now, it’s not necessarily to reinvent the wheel every single time when it comes to writing, and some clichés may help you enhance your dialogues or characters, but if you are using them too much, you are going to wind up with something that is dull, uninspired, and yes, boring. Try and step away from worn out phrases, or create a protagonist which is not your usual square-jawed hero. It will make your story a lot more interesting.
5. Telling instead of Showing
For instance, your main character may be someone who’s depressed or is going through a rough patch in their life. Don’t just describe how they feel, create a setting which supports that idea. Instead of writing how they took a deep, heavy sigh, place them in a dive bar, sitting alone slumped on a bar chair, drinking one whiskey after another. It creates a more powerful image which tells a lot more about your character than blunt descriptions.
6. Too Much Detail
Yes, there is such a thing as too much detail. You don’t need to include every single bit of information, because your readers should engage their imaginations as well. Also, details should be there to support the plot, provide further characterization, and paint a more vivid picture, not just be there for the sake of being there. Too much detail can distract from the plot, or dull the impact of your dialogues, too, which means less is more in this case.
7. Not Choosing Words More Carefully
Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged, once said: ‘’Words are a lens to focus one’s mind.’’
While you should definitely make full use of your vocabulary when writing, using big words just for the sake of using them will only make your work seem unnecessarily pretentious. You can make your sentences and chapters intriguing by using ordinary words arranged in clever ways. You can come up with different comparisons or metaphors to describe a particular situation or a feeling, instead of relying on just fancy phrases.
In addition to avoiding these mistakes, you should also practice writing. A lot. That’s the only way you can really grow as an author. If you can do that, you will be on your way toward creating something brilliant that will inspire others to pick up a pen, as well.