Some of my rookie mistakes.

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.


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  1. Ian

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think I found any of these in your Chocolate story, and I still think it’s something which could make it into Analog with some spit and polish. 🙂

  2. De


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