Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 53: No Contractions in Dialogue

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 53: No Contractions in Dialogue What’s the worst writing mistake an author can make? It’s a broad one: doing something you think makes you look sophisticated and clever, when really… it doesn’t. A common manifestation of this is a conscientious avoidance of contractions in dialogue and narrative. I’ll admit I … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 53: No Contractions in Dialogue

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 51: One-Dimensional Characters

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 51: One-Dimensional Characters The most magical moment in writing is when you sit down with a new batch of characters, turn them loose on the page, and… they come to life. They spring up from that flat, white expanse of page, and they’re real. They’re dimensional. They’re organic. They’re compelling and … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 51: One-Dimensional Characters

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters I slapped the FedEx guy this morning. Okay, not really. My FedEx guy is totally cool. And he brings me cool stuff. I’d never slap him. But that got your attention, didn’t it? Way more so than if I ‘d said, “I thanked the FedEx … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said” What’s this, you say? Avoiding “said” is one of the most common writing mistakes? How can that be? Surely writers overuse this ubiquitous little word more often than not, don’t they? As a matter of fact: nope. Indeed, trying to avoid this hard-working little speaker-attribution tag can, in most instances, lead … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 44: Too Many Participle Phrases (Over $500.00 in Cyber Monday bonuses)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 44: Too Many Participle Phrases Rushing to her computer, Katie tries not to spill her coffee. She is late to write a very important forty-fourth installment in the “Most Common Writing Mistakes” series. She looks for her coaster, rooting through her desk drawers. Finally, relieved by the protection of the precious particle board … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 44: Too Many Participle Phrases (Over $500.00 in Cyber Monday bonuses)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 42: When Your Story Stakes Aren’t High Enough

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 42: When Your Story Stakes Aren’t High Enough There are two different ways you can blow your story stakes–and both of them have the ability to ruin your book. Before we dig into the pitfalls, let’s take a moment to consider just what story stakes are. What Are Story Stakes? Your character’s stake … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 42: When Your Story Stakes Aren’t High Enough

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts These, days, writers have to be clever. There are so many guidelines we need to observe in order to make our plots, characters, and narratives as vibrant and powerful as possible. As this series on most common writing mistakes attests, there are so many things … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 41: Inferring Non-POV Characters’ Thoughts

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 38: Irrelevant Book Endings

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 38: Irrelevant Book Endings Is there anything more fun, more bittersweet, and more challenging than book endings? Arguably, nothing matters more for ensuring reader satisfaction than the ending of a book. As such, few parts of your story are going to be more important to get right. But naturally, the room … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 38: Irrelevant Book Endings

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing “Show, don’t tell” is arguably one of the most important principles of writing fiction. It’s the foundation of all of dramatic storytelling. “Telling” may get the bones of a scene across. But “showing” is what brings it to life. So it should come … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 33: Telling Important Scenes, Instead of Showing

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 32: Boring Opening Lines

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 32: Boring Opening Lines Opening lines are an art form unto themselves. They must introduce a story’s tone, the author’s wit, the plot itself, and, most importantly, a reason why this story is worth the readers’ time. Boring opening lines aren’t something an author can afford. And yet they’re harder … More Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 32: Boring Opening Lines