14 Amateur Mistakes Every Writer Should Avoid

It's easier than you think to intrude in your own story. Avoid these common writing mistakes for more professional writing from start to finish.
Author:
Publish date:

Don't make these common writing mistakes!

We all need help writing a novel from time to time—whether that be during national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo) or while working on your novel as part of your New Year's resolution—and we want to help you improve your novel (and avoid mistakes in all your future writing). There are several missteps that unpublished writers make that scream "rookie" to agents and publishers. Most are easy to fix, but the key is identifying them. That's where we can help.

In this Writer's Digest free download, How to Avoid Amateur Mistakes, James V. Smith, Jr., walks you through 14 of the most common faux pas that many writers make when working on their first few novels. Making these changes will help improve your writing and make it look more professional. Plus, it will help you speed up your writing process and allow you the opportunity to write a novel in a month, if you're up to the challenge.

With the tips on avoiding mistakes and novel writing help in this free download, you'll be on your way a novel that's professional from start to finish. Enter your email to join Writer's Digest and get your free download.

Enter your email to join the Writer's Digest newsletter and get your FREE download!

14 tips to help every writer avoid amateur writing mistakes.

Sneak Peek – Tips on Writing Better

As a writer, one of your top goals should be not to intrude in your story. The problem is, many of us do it without even realizing it. Here are a few examples from this FREE download of ways writers intrude in their stories and hurt the end product, making it more difficult to get published:

Tired Expressions

Like right out of sitcoms, movies, or even the day's news. Using them is like putting a stick-on note in the margin of your manuscript: Hi, I'm the author, and I watch too much TV. Hell-OH-o, don't go there, I don't think so as in any sitcom or teen conversation.

Goofy Gimmicks and Grammatical Gadgets!!!

This includes alliteration—writing with words that begin with the same letter—and odd punctuation like multiple exclamation points.

Cute Quote Marks

She had never met an author so tall—seven feet, an authentic "literary giant." Do you see the quotes? That's the author. He's winking at you from behind the narrative, telling you he's made a funny, wanting you to notice it. Take off the quotes, and the irony works just as well.

Preaching From the Mouth of a Character

When I hear a novel's heroine use a tired expression like, "male chauvinist pig," whether the language comes in quotes or not, I know the writer couldn't find a more artful, less preachy way to say the same thing.

Help writing a book and avoiding amateur mistakes.

Are you ready for more? Get help with writing a book and avoid writing mistakes with this free download!

There are more ways a writer can intrude in a story, and more than a dozen common mistakes in writing are included in this FREE download. So sign up for our FREE newsletter and download How to Avoid Amateur Mistakes today! This is one of the most valuable free resources you'll own.

Enter your email to join the Writer's Digest newsletter and get your FREE download!

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

Have you ever considered outlining after finishing your first draft? Kris Spisak walks you through the process.

Poetic Forms

The Skinny: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the skinny, a form created by Truth Thomas.

The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

A book review is more than sharing an opinion—it's a conversation between readers. Sam Risak shares the benefits of writing books reviews, as well as best practices for getting started.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give In

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give In

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give in to something or someone.

Essential Versus Non-Essential Mystery

Essential Versus Non-Essential Mystery

What gets a reader to keep turning pages? Author Amanda Kabak seeks to answer that question here.

5-Minute Memoir: Anonymous Fame

5-Minute Memoir: Anonymous Fame

5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from Barbara Neal Varma.

My Writer Success Story Began With Getting Over Myself

My Writer Success Story Began With Getting Over Myself

Debut author Christina Wyman discusses how getting out of her own way led to her authorial success.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 574

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a missing poem.

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Outline

How to Write a Nonfiction Book Outline

You have an idea for a nonfiction book. Now what? Author Rick Lauber shares how outlining before writing can help you decide what to put on the page—and what to save for later.