4 Beginner Writing Mistakes to Avoid - article

Writing a book is tough. You have a long journey ahead and to help you on that journey, here’s a road map of the common pitfalls. Avoid the beginner mistakes and you will reach your destination much more quickly and easily than you would have otherwise.

Meaningless Phrases

Clichés are common phrases that are hackneyed and tired. They infuse your work with these same qualities. Awareness is the key here. Cut the clichés and replace the overused phrases with fresh language. Clichesite offers a long list of common clichés to help you identify and ferret out these phrases. They make your writing seem bland and leave it devoid of feeling. Your readers will thank you.

Author Intrusion

Many beginning writers make this common mistake. Characters need to stand apart from you. Don't create a bunch of clones of you that think your thoughts, have your habits, and spout your sayings. You need to create characters different from you. Try a character chart to flesh out a character with original ideas and thoughts. Here is a link to a character survey at Eclectics that will help you create an original character. Your readers will itch to turn the next page of your story.

Preaching and Teaching

Preaching is for the pulpit and teaching is for the classroom. Many writers want to preach and teach in their stories. No reader likes to be told the moral of the story. No one wants a lesson in virtue. Morals and lessons need to be shown to the readers. Readers want to experience the writer’s created world for themselves. You, as the writer, may have something important to say, but you must learn to trust your readers. Readers can figure things out. Get heavy handed with the preaching and teaching, and your readers will bristle fiercely at your sermonizing and yawn at your lessons.

Word abuse

Many writers use pet phrases over and over throughout a manuscript. Make a list of the words you use too much and perform a special edit of your work to “clean up” your personal word abuse. Another common form of word abuse is too many "to be" verbs (is, am, are, was, were, been, be, being), and not enough active verbs. Search out “to be” verbs and replace. Finally, a few words have lost meaning from overuse. Here is a list of common overused words: bad, good, big, fine, amazing, awesome, happy, nice, interesting, well, and just. Be kind to your readers and cut or replace overused words.

Share this story
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn
  • Thanks--I have been writing for 5 years and am overwhelmed by the volume of my material. Your tips are a great place for me to start editing.
  • One of my dearest friends was both blind and quadriplegic, I still think of her as my prayer partner, actually it was because of some of our adventures through prayer and the Bible that I felt something within to share the stories in print. Have you written your story? I would love to read it. mine is; http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-001009493/Where-Will-You-Plant-Your-Seed.aspx
  • Hi Sandra, sorry that your book hasn't taken off yet, mine hasn't either. So far most of the books of mine have been given away, I did have someone that bought 20 copies (17 siblings kind of helped) http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-001009493/Where-Will-You-Plant-Your-Seed.aspx Good luck with your book, to me I think of it is in The Lords Time!
  • Hi David, did your friend rebuild? I was born in New Orleans and grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I remember first hand the destruction of Hurricane Betsey and Camille actually wrote about both in my book; http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-001009493/Where-Will-You-Plant-Your-Seed.aspx What subjects do you write about?
  • what topics do you write about?