Monday, April 4, 2016

Newbie Writer Mistakes

post by Michelle Griep
Newbie writers are cute little buggers. All sparkly-eyed and smiles. I like to snap pictures of them when they're in this fresh writing-is-grand stage, then pull out the photo a year or two later. After rejections. After computer crashes. After seeing friends sign contracts. Yeah, I'm that kind of sick and twisted.

But besides the obvious outward glow of a novice writer, it's their writing that will give them away every time. There are certain newbie writing mistakes that are universal . . .

Too much backstory.
First off let me validate you. It's a good thing to know your characters inside and out. Here's a round of clappy-clappy applause for you. Now then, that's for YOU, not your reader. Your reader doesn't need to know every last little detail of your characters' past. Dole those facts out like breadcrumbs throughout the story, and even then only a need to know basis.

Too much detail.
Not everything is interesting. I don't watch with intense curiosity every time my husband clips his toe nails (sorry for the visual) because, well, it's just not entertaining. So don't do that in your writing. No one cares what your hero had for breakfast, or the ornate detailing on his car, or pretty much anything else that slows down the story.

Too much rule following.
Yeah, I know you've been studying like crazy to become a great little author, but now that you know the rules, go ahead and break them. No, not like a college freshman at his first kegger away from home. Be judicious.

Too much meandering throughout the story.
Plot is king. Know what your characters want and go after it, starting on page 1 and continuing on until you type The End. Your story must be driven by goals, motivations and conflicts.

So listen up, newbies of the world . . . there's a quick fix to all these problems. Stop doing them so much. Pick one area at a time to cut back in (kind of like eliminating junk food from your diet) and in no time at all you won't appear to be such a newbie.


chappydebbie said...

Yes! Too much detail totally makes a story boring.

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