Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid as a Newbie Fiction Writer

As a newbie writer, there are a few mistakes that you might want to avoid at all costs. Without further ado, let us jump straight into the list of five mistakes you shouldn’t make with your first book.

Read on to learn more!

Choosing a Cliché Trope

The first mistake that you will want to avoid as a new author is choosing a cliché scenario. So if you are writing a fantasy novel, you might want to avoid writing about the chosen one. Or, if you are writing a romance novel, you might want to avoid writing the cliché trope where the female protagonist falls in love with the billionaire dude.

A bunch of years ago, vampires had their heyday. You get the point – many newbie writers make the mistake of choosing an overdone trope, the underlying reason for which is that many newbie writers usually are reading older books instead of contemporary ones.

So, as a newbie writer, you might research and see which tropes have been overdone to the point that they are stale. No one would like to invest their time in reading stale tropes – they want something new and refreshing.

So, even if you choose an old trope, ensure you integrate your own voice into it. Focus on integrating a unique spin on a cliché trope which your target audience and literary agents might find interesting.

Telling vs Showing

More than 80% of newbie writers struggle with their words when it comes to showing through words vs telling. For instance, when it comes to showcasing how a character might be feeling, you might be telling more rather than showing.

Also, when it comes to showcasing a relationship between characters or depicting the weather or the settings in which the story is taking place – you can do all these things by showing a lot of time within a depicted scene itself.

For instance, you don’t have to describe how cold the weather is, which is why a character might be wearing thick clothes. If you were to simply state that a character is wearing a thick pullover, the reader would instantly know that it is cold outside.

Giving vivid descriptions, such as “…Molly kicked off snow from her boots as she walked inside”, can show the reader that the story is unfolding in a cold setting. The reader will instantly know what the weather is like because the character is kicking off the boots.

So, use your words to show rather than tell so the readers can vividly imagine the surroundings, the characters’ personalities, and many other things.

Writing No Hook

As a newbie writer, you might make the mistake of writing a story that lacks a hook. Think about the basic aspect that would make your story unique. When it comes to the hook, can you summarize your entire story in one sentence?

You need a hook for your book. You need to develop a sentence describing the uniqueness of your story/ book. You must sit down and ask yourself whether you have a hook or not – or are your characters ambling about in the forest with some random quest?

If the quest of your characters doesn’t have any connections to the end of the book, then this is a big problem.

That said, if you have a distinct hook, it is a strong indication that you know the plot of the story. You should always be able to summarize your book in one sentence.

Believe it or not, writing a hook is of the utmost importance as this is how you can get your readers interested in reading your book. A perfectly-written hook will ensure that the writer gets fully immersed in the novel.

Flowery Writing

Another potential mistake that many newbie writers make is indulging in something known as flowery writing. Generally, newbie writers cannot help but flex their muscles and want to come off as literary people when writing fiction.

Newbie writers often want to use words properly without paying attention to who they are writing them for. For instance, if someone writes fiction for middle graders, there is no reason to use difficult vocabulary as the audience will find it quite incomprehensible.

When it comes to the title of your book, you must ensure that it is enticing and attractive to the readers. You might as well hire a fantasy book cover designer and make sure that your fantasy book is irresistible.

The cover of your book is the first point of contact that your target audience will have with your book. Therefore, the book cover and the title will create a certain expectation, and if the title and cover are good enough, it will attract the right reader to your book.

Nonetheless, as a newbie writer, you will want to avoid using big vocabulary words. Keep the language as simple as possible, and don’t give into the temptation of dumping a thesaurus in your manuscript.

Lack of Conflict

It doesn’t matter whether you are writing a novel or a collection of short stories; stories are made of conflict – this is specifically true for plot-driven stories. Conflict is required as a source of supply for the stakes and odds within the story, which ultimately leads to the rise and fall of actions.

That said, conflict is a critical part of the structure of most books. The three-act plot structure is one of the most popular examples of an ideal structure for books. Nonetheless, there are different ways you can structure your novel – but the three-act structure happens to be the most popular one.

Besides, without conflict, you won’t allow your characters to grow and change throughout the story, which is crucial in character-driven plots.

The Takeaway

As a newbie writer, you will be overwhelmed with self-doubt and the fear of failure. It takes courage to be a writer and come out of the closet with the book that has been oscillating in your mind for ages.

While the first step is overcoming the fear, the other steps are mentioned above – just ensure that you don’t make the mistakes, and you are good to go!