This month, I’m delighted to continue my relationship with The Asian Writer website by contributing a guest post on Common Mistakes in Writing Fiction and how to avoid them.
Here’s an excerpt from the post, which I hope you’ll enjoy:
Is there such a thing as a ‘mistake’ in writing? It’s a curious question, as of course, there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ work of fiction and so it follows that everyone makes mistakes in their writing, all the time. However, the more obvious mistakes most often occur in a first draft, when we are not too familiar with our material and are still finding our way with a new voice.
I don’t like to be overly prescriptive, as it can be those who break the ‘rules’ who go on to be our most innovative and exciting writers. Yet in the twenty years that I have worked as a creative writing teacher and literary consultant, there is no doubt that there are certain recognisable traits that can hinder a work, making it ‘flat’ somehow, preventing it from having a deep impact on the reader.
I’ve put together this list, as a checklist to consider as you begin a new work or edit a first draft. If one or two resonate with you, it might be worth paying some attention to that part of your work, to see if you can strengthen the writing by developing your skills in this area. Effectively, these brief notes are just a starting point for further exploration.
The post, available in full only on The Asian Writer site, outlines how to deal with the common mistakes and what action to take if one of these is an area of weakness for you. It covers:
- The preamble
- The distant narrative voice
- Nothing at stake
- The flat or passive character
- Overuse of adjectives
- The galloping pace
- The flaccid plotline
- Over-exposition in dialogue
- The missing conflict
- An absence of passion
I do hope that you enjoy it and look forward to hearing your response.