Ian wanted to know what some common, fixable rookie mistakes were, and I realized the list I was writing would make a good blog post — because they’re my rookie mistakes. Not that I’ve really stopped making them, but at least I can spot them and go, “Perhaps not.”
- Writing a very similar story to the author’s favorite writer without realizing it.
- Too many characters in the opening (and no clear hero).
- A convoluted plot with no point.
- Overgeneralization instead of providing details (show, not tell).
- Trying to be clever and dropping in “hints” of backstory at inappropriate moments, just because it was the first time I mentioned something related.
- Spending waaaay too much time describing characters’ outfits.
- Writing an interesting beginning and dropping off into blandness, because I can’t figure out how to revise.
- Writing main characters that nobody can empathize with.
- Action scenes strung together without any concern for meaning or giving the reader a break.
- Unrelenting seriousness that takes a perfectly good plot and turns it into unintentional melodrama.
- Trying too hard to be funny.
- Writing an absolutely evil character with whom I cannot empathize.
- Writing main characters without flaws; o woe is me, why are all these terrible things happening?
- Writing passive characters.
- Stacking endless prepositional phrases in an effort to sound poetic.
- Trying too hard to sound “fancy” when a plain, clear, direct style would be much better.
- Describing something, then deciding I had a better description for it, and leaving both descriptions in.
And that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head.