The 9 Most Common Mistakes Writers Make (and How To Overcome Them)

Writers are also Human. They too, make mistakes – miserable ones. Here we shall discuss the 9 most common mistakes writers make (and how to overcome them).

The first and foremost job of a writer is to construct a narrative. It might not necessarily be a work of fiction but even a poem or a political article has to contain a narrative. Often writers put a distracting device into their writing, and more often than not, end up undermining the narrative. The most common mistakes that writers are prone to do are:

  1. Trying too hard to impress: This is a sure way to put off your reader. When you try to be impressive – or try to be funny – then you end up being lesser, actually. If it is an article, then it might be very tempting to show off the research work you have done, but the readers are not delving into your writing to be a critique of your knowledge; they simply want to be entertained. If you can dose your writing with a dollop of knowledge and wisdom, then it is all very good, but let that not be the main thrust of your writing. Let the narrative flow naturally, and if the situation is funny, no need to underscore it, the reader will see the humor on their own. The point is, you do not want readers to admire your writing, you want them to be involved deeply into it. There is no point in being a great intellect whom nobody reads. The same happens when you use too much symbolism and imagery – it threatens to smother and distract too much from your work.
  2. Failing to relate to the reader: Your work has to have a certain amount of credulity; even works of fantasy demands that at a certain level the characters and plots are believable to an extent that the reader can relate to that. Of the action of the characters or the incidents seem to be too incredulous, then you lose readership. Too much of co-incidences, use of happenstance will make the plot less believable. If you want to show something foreshadowed, then you have to find a believable logic behind that.
  3. Using a ‘hook’ to bring in readers into the plot: This is a narrative device that sometimes writers use to immediately catch the readers’ attention, but it has to be done in such a way that it blends into the narrative. Otherwise it will create instant discord among the readers and they will be confused as to your purpose. For example, if you are writing a romance, then don’t start it with a murder.
  4. Too much of suspense: Keeping the readers on a cliffhanger for too long will see them bored and their interest will wane. You do not want readers to skip over pages, so try to find a balance wen you go for a suspenseful situation in your book.
  5. Being too Predictable: While leaving the readers on suspense too much is to be avoided, you do not want to be too predictable. The reader needs a certain amount of excitement; they need to feel alive and if they can predict what is gong to happen in the next sequence then you lose their interest. You can fix this by putting something unexpected in every sequence so that it keeps the reader guessing.
  6. Too Syrupy dialogues: Let the dialogues of your book, when they warrant it, be crisp and realistic. Too much sweetness can be cloying and the reader will undermine your writing.
  7. Love lost:  The reader wants to fall in love with your writing and you do too. The only way to do this is to carve out strong characterization. The background has to be solid and every character – be it the protagonist, the antagonist, or the mystic – has to have a strong presence so that the reader can relate to that.
  8. Too formal language: When you draw the picture of a character, the language has to be relatable to that. If it is a non-fiction work, then the language has to be relatable to the audience/reader that you are seeking to address. If the language is too bookish or formal, then they will simply put down your work and move on. Make the characters speak in simple, understandable everyday words; do not undermine the reader however, they can be discerning about the mood of the author and take offence.
  9. Similar characterization: When you are writing fiction, take care that every character does not sound the same. Each has to have their own persona, and the best way to bring that out is how they speak. Try to delineate the dictions, accents, even phraseology according to the space and time of the narrative structure – if you are writing a historical novel and use “OK” then that will sound incongruous.

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