10 Common Mistakes New Writers Make in Book Writing

You know what to do as a book writer, but do you know what not to do? Even accomplished book writers can make blunders often because they aren’t aware of where they go wrong.

Since you are new in the market, you’ll probably come across several speed breakers in your journey as a book writer before you finally hit the smooth road.

You won’t get it right the first time or perhaps several times before you get the hang of it, and that’s okay. To help you kickstart your career as a book writer, however, or as an author, here are 10 mistakes you can avoid.

You can thank me later.

  1. A boring beginning

A boring intro can prove to be fatal for your story, novel, or book. Even a 500 words article needs to have a captivating opening that will inspire further reading.

New book writers often have a great climax and an uninteresting intro. It is an art you need to master. If your readers lose interest when they begin, no one will even know what a fantastic plot you had in mind.

Keep your readers hooked, curious and excited for more.

2. Lying about what’s next

Just because you wanted to stimulate interest doesn’t mean you will lie. Misleading opening lines can cause chaos in any writer’s work, provoking readers to put down the book as soon as they realize this is not what they signed up for.

Even in your opening act, you need to stick to your plot and genre. Don’t try to fool your readers; they won’t be pleased.

3. Crowding up your ideas

It isn’t a good idea to implement so many ideas in one go. Book writing requires focus. You cannot generate fruitful results when writing a fictional novel and a social issues-oriented blog post simultaneously. It is doable if you have been writing for the last 10 years, but this is just the starting line for you and there’s a long track to cover.

Another common mistake that many freshers tend to make is jumping from one idea to another. Stay loyal to the finalized concept, genre or story. If you keep on switching your concepts, you will never conclude.

4. Being unnecessarily vague

I am not protesting against mystery novels here. It’s good to keep your readers curious but only where it is relevant. Remember, books drive readers’ imaginations who tend to visualize the occurrences you write; thus excessive ambiguity loses their interest since they can’t figure out what you are trying to portray.

For instance:

“Carol saw, what as apparently a cat”. No rule breaking there, but you need to explain later what exactly was the object or being that Carol saw. I hope I am not too vague.

5. Thinking you are above research

Don’t ever fool yourself into believing you don’t require research for a topic or genre. I agree that for a fiction writer, the storyline needs to be primarily your own. Nevertheless, you need to know that even as a fiction writer, you need to make sense.

New book writers often write without relevant research on their genre and fail to write accordingly. Be a rebel in your books, but if you wish to break some cliches by intertwining two genres or make your own rules, you had better be prepared for any negative feedback from publishers on an unconventional manuscript. Better to save that side of you for later.

6. A plot that lacks durability

Your plot is the foundation of your entire book or novel; its success depends on it. You might have a way with words, but they won’t support you if your plot fails to uphold it and take it swiftly to the end.

New book writers need to bear in mind that many ideas or events don’t qualify as a plot. It is perhaps the easiest way to ruin your career as a book writer before it begins.

7. Writing behind the times

Do you enjoy reading the classics? I do too, but I won’t write like Jane Austen in the 21st century. Decorative language is very 1800s, and you don’t want to sound outdated. There is one exception, however, period / historical fiction. So, unless you intend to take your readers hundreds of years back, stay in the present and write for a contemporary crowd. 

8. Missing the edit

No one’s perfect, and you aren’t an exception. New book writers tend to get a little over-confident and either skip the editing process or go through it quickly instead of focusing on every little detail.

Another common mistake that new book writers are inclined to make is to proofread using a grammar-checking tool like Grammarly. Your work isn’t finished, pal. Editing isn’t limited to punctuation and spelling errors; you need to recheck every chapter and phrase, as well as the sync between each paragraph. Are there any loopholes, or is there an irrelevant phrase?

“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” 

– Stephen King

9. Elaborating too much

Trust me; excessive explanations are just as annoying as incomplete or vague phrases. Inexperienced book writers often forget to balance their overflowing words and their readers’ requirements. Remember, people judge a book by the quality of writing, not the number of words you can type.

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

– Dr. Seuss

Keep it concise and to the point, unless you need an elaborate description about a particular place or event. Even then, know when to let go. Your readers shouldn’t skip pages or paragraphs because it’s too much to read or keep up with.

 “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. “

                                                                                                                      – Thomas Jefferson

10. Telling rather than showing

This applies more to fictional writers. A blog writer (for instance) with a newfound ambition for book writing may use narration in a book rather than visualization.

Let me clear the fog.

Read this:

Carol saw two men fighting and arguing with one another while watching with curiosity and tried to gauge what they were quarreling about? She heard one of them tell the other that he had better not show his face here again. She then saw him raise a fist, and the other one wanted to block him, but he was too late, his upper lip was already bleeding, and the fight turned ugly.

Read this now:

Carol could see two men fighting from where she while trying to gauge what the fight is about.

The man with the bulky shoulders shouted at the leaner one: “don’t you dare show your face to me again,” and he immediately held out his fist and punched the slender-looking man.

“Let me explain”, he said. But before he could complete his sentence, his rival was already beating him.

See what I did there? The first paragraph tells you what was happening, while the other version shows you what was occurring.

I’ll leave you to your thoughts now and exit with this quote to give you a dose of motivation:

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

– Louis L’Amour

Leave a Reply