Are You Making These ‘New Author’ Mistakes?

Whether you’re experienced or just starting out, these are mistakes that we all tend to make from time to time.

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I just read an article entitled ‘The dumbest mistakes new authors make.” After going through the list, I came to the conclusion that these aren’t just mistakes we make when we’re starting out. These are bad habits that some of us can slip back into. Do any of the following apply to you?

Doing it for the money. We can’t all be Stephen King. You’re never going to live in a solid-gold house or earn eight figures. Start with a modest six-figure income and work your way up from there.

Not having a distinctive voice. Voice, of course, refers to the voices of your characters. Give them all your distinctive voice so people will know it’s your writing. It’s perfectly fine for every character to say your personal catchphrase. That’s branding.

Not using all of the senses. Writers lean too heavily on sight when writing descriptions. You’ve got five or six senses, make sure to give each of them something to keep them interested. For instance, taste and smell are drastically underused. Babies stick damn near everything into their mouths, so we humans are hard-wired to evaluate things based on flavor.  This works great for food and sex scenes. I don’t recommend describing firearms this way, however.

Too much backstory.There’s no good place for an infodump. Instead, put all that stuff into a short story. Give yourself a couple of months to get that into shape, then get back to work on your book. You may accidentally take out too much, but that’s okay; if anyone asks why a character is underdeveloped, you can say, “Oh, it’d make more sense if you’d read the prequel short story. No, it’s not published anywhere.”

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