Eight Things that Newbie Fiction Writers Get Wrong

Eight Things that Newbie Fiction Writers Get Wrong

Pills & Pillow-Talk

I’ve lost count of the number of the people who’ve told me they’re writing a novel. I’ve also met more than my share of successful novelists. Let’s just say that first group of people is a lot larger than the second.

While there are many ways in which a newbie can go wrong, it often boils down to one or more of these common mistakes. old-books11 Using stock characters

The tart with a heart of gold. The tall black dude who plays basketball. The gruff schoolmaster. The academic with thick glasses. While stereotypes can occasionally be useful as shorthand, they’re only two-dimensional characters, and that’s not enough to engage readers.

2 Writing real-life dialogue

Yes, you read that right. Realistic dialogue isn’t an echo of real conversation. In everyday life, people use a huge number of filler words and meaningless sounds. Like this.

“Oh, hi, Debbie. Lovely to see you…

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Seven Deadly Sins of Newbie Writers

Seven Deadly Sins of Newbie Writers

Pills & Pillow-Talk

When I first blogged about the eight mistakes of newbie writers, I knew I couldn’t cover the whole subject in a few hundred words. Since then, fellow author Keith Dixon and other colleagues have pointed out several more pitfalls that would-be novelists really should avoid. That made it high time for this follow-up.

1 Beginning before the beginning

Many novice writers launch their story with a wordy description of the main character, or a biography beginning with that person’s existence long before the action in the book – sometimes even back to their birth.  The danger is that, unless you’re Dostoevsky, readers will ditch your prose in favour of a novel where something is actually happening.

bookshop2 Using complicated variations of ‘he said’/’she said’

You might think ‘he said’ and ‘she said’ are too dull to bear repetition, but the truth is that these basic dialogue tags tend to…

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Writers: Write Like a Filmmaker

Writers:  Write Like a Filmmaker

very important. *takes notes*

Robert R. Fike

I am not an expert. I don’t have a bundle of best sellers under my belt. I’m not going to tell you that I have all the answers. But I like to read. I like to read books and like I watch films. I started my career as a video editor. I’ve made short films. I’ve seen how the medium has become democratized by digital equipment, and I have seen how that has made story more important than Hollywood budgets. I’ve also seen self-publishing democratize fiction writing in much the same way. So I married those two ideas together, and this is where we’re left: a few insights on how to write your book like a filmmaker.

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