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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Top 7 Mistakes of an Amateur Writer

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It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time author or whether you have a few published books under your belt – there are certain mistakes that you will want to avoid at all costs – especially if you don’t want to fall into the amateur writers’ category.

If you eliminate certain mistakes that we have listed below- you will dramatically increase your manuscript.

Without further ado, let us jump straight into the list of potential writing mistakes that will make you come off as an amateur writer and subsequently hurt your writing career.

Read on to learn more!

Extended Sentences

The first mistake to avoid at all costs is the use of run-on sentences. In case you need some further clarification, you should know that we are referring to two or more sentences that are joined by commas and hence are hard to read for readers.

Long sentences are not only confusing to the eyes but also to the mind – periods and full stops can make reading so much easier. Shorter sentences are also easier to process in mind. On the contrary, joined sentences are always hard to read.

Eliminating Obvious Words

Another mistake to avoid is forgetting the easier words and using complex words instead. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction; you will want to avoid using complex words and even flowery language.

You can immensely benefit from creative writing classes and learn how to integrate simple, obvious, and useable words in your writing. Also, according to a rule of the thumb, if you can replace seven complex words with one simple word – you should always go for it.

Description of Bed in Opening Page

Believe it or not, when it comes to fiction writing, many newbie writers make the mistake of starting their first page by describing their main character in bed. If you have made the same mistake, you should know that loads of newbie writers have done the same, which is why it has kind of become cliché by now.

You might want to avoid starting your book in a setting that starts with the main character in their bed – it is more common than you think and hence needs to be avoided – especially if you don’t want to come off as an amateur writer.

Also, don’t make the mistake of describing a mirror in the hall. For instance, you might want to avoid describing a character in a situation where they have an urgent business to attend to until they pass by the mirror in the hall where you break the momentum and start describing what the character is looking like.

Instantly Switching Viewpoints

 You don’t want to confuse your readers about what is going on in the story, which is why you should avoid instantly switching viewpoints midway. For instance, if you have written the first paragraph from the heroine’s perspective and given the readers a peek into what she is going through.

In other words, the readers are in the head of the heroine, and all of a sudden, the next paragraphs are about the hero – the male protagonist and the readers are seeing the story unfold from his perspective.

As an aspiring writer, you will want to avoid making this mistake of instantly switching between viewpoints, as this comes off as quite amateurish. If you want to switch the viewpoint in the next paragraph, you will want to make some sort of announcement first so the readers aren’t caught off guard.

If you don’t give a hint or signal before switching viewpoints, it just comes off as too abrupt and kind of jolts the reader – not just out of the character’s mind but out of your book itself.

Of course, you can switch viewpoints midway – like after a paragraph – but you will want to do it gracefully by zooming out of the first viewpoint and then zooming into the second character’s head.

Random Capitalizations

Many aspiring writers also make the mistake of changing formats and going for random capitalizations. They (newbie writers) think that they have to capitalize something because it is important, which is incorrect. Ideally, you should only capitalize if something is important or if it is a name or place.

If something isn’t fitting into this category, it probably doesn’t need capitalization in general, which is why you should avoid it at all costs.

Protagonist is Emotional

Another cliché mistake that you will want to avoid as a newbie writer is describing the main character as overly emotional or as someone who cries too much. Even if your plot has a lot of bad stuff happening, making your main character cry a couple of times makes it appear amateurish.

You will want to read your book or the first copy of the manuscript from the reader’s viewpoint, and you will see for yourself that the main character or characters are probably crying too much. It doesn’t matter whether you are describing a male or female character – the crying part needs to be limited.

If they have to cry, you might want to limit them to twice in the entire book, as too much crying and tears can actually affect the reader’s engagement in the book. They might resort to putting the book down and thinking about why they are reading something with so much crying.

Repetition Overload

There is nothing wrong with repetitions, as these are inevitable; however, you should know when you need to slow down and avoid the excessive use of a word, name, or phrase.

The readers wouldn’t want to read a text with numerous repetitions in it – again, you will want to read the manuscript from the reader’s perspective to understand what it is doing to their head. They might stop following the plot and reading the actual words on the page but start hearing the horrible buzzing noise of the repetitions.

With overloaded repetition, you have certainly pushed them over the edge, making them sit down from your book in dismay.

If you don’t want to drive your reader nuts and come off as an amateur writer, you will want to avoid repetitions, especially unintended ones. 

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