As a novelist, you are mostly writing according to what you feel is right. When you write, you are trying to work into words the ideas that runs through your head. Rarely do you think whether or not you are committing writing mistakes while you are penning your masterpiece. As long as you write in the essentials of writing a good novel, you think you are good to go. If you are one of those who think like this, then you may want to pause for a while and take a good look at your writeup. Are you making a mistake? Is there some section I should pay attention to the most? As such, here is a list of top mistakes even great novelists make when writing a manuscript:
#1. Trying way too hard at getting your thoughts through.
Have you ever watched a movie where, upon watching a life-changing scene, you’ll end up sighing in regret instead because there was a part that could have been edited out by the director? Such situations also occur in novels. Some good authors ruin a perfect comedic scene when they try too hard at being funny.
Another example is when you are building your story setting. Are you going to waste words detailing the extensive flora and fauna of the novel’s location? How much do you want to impress your readers that you are using obscure words such as execrable, garrulous, and contumacious?
#2. Overdoing the theme.
A good novel will follow a certain theme. It may be coming-of-age, chasing a dream, or justice. Having a theme is a good thing when writing a novel since it allows you to have a general guideline on how you want the story to flow and what ending you’d want to have.
However, it will turn out to be a big mistake if you overdo your theme. If you keep reiterating the theme in your 30,000-word novel, it will seem as if you are pushing it down your reader’s throat. The reader may feel that you are undermining their intelligence. Find a way to present your theme in the most impactful way without needing to repeat it every three pages or so.
#3. Misleading hook.
Hooks are essential to novels as these are what you can use to attract your readers to grab your book and read it. With hooks, you can whet your reader’s appetite. However, what would happen if the hook makes the readers expect something different from what you want to convey?
It is imperative to have a hook that is not only interesting but also points the readers to the direction that you want them thinking.
Cliffhanger is a plot device that is supposed to be used build the reader’s suspense. When done right, the cliffhanger can become the turning point that will amaze your readers.
As an author, it is a must to use the cliffhanger correctly. Otherwise, it will leave your readers hanging. And, when readers are left hanging, they’ll get annoyed with your novel instead. There is also a higher probability of skipping sections just to get to the resolution of the cliffhanger you’ve presented.
If the readers skip scenes in your novel, it would reflect the disappointment they felt towards your work. Thus, fix the cliffhangers. Don’t leave the readers hanging.
#5. Weak opening narrative.
The opening narrative of a novel is a crucial part. After all, it is what will hook your readers to your book. With a good opening narrative, you can prevent your readers from putting the book down, moving on to another novel, and never coming back.
#6. Poor dialogue.
One of the things that can easily let your readers empathize with your character is through their dialogues. Thus, make sure that it is written correctly.
For example, one dialogue is equal to one paragraph. Don’t squeeze in all the dialogues for that scene in one paragraph. Not only is this the proper way to write a dialogue, it also makes the readers read through the entire scene smoothly.
#7. Tenses, misspelled words, and grammar mistakes.
Pay attention to your tenses, spelling, and grammar. When you are using past tense in your narrative, don’t suddenly use the present tense. For misspellings, run your manuscript through a spellchecker to see if identify those misspelled words and correct them accordingly. For grammar mistakes, you might need to hire a good editor to help you in pointing out those grammar mistakes in your novel.
If you want to ensure that corrections for tenses, spelling, and grammar are all covered, consider equipping yourself with the top apps every author should have.
Since you are already writing a novel and hoping for it to become a bestseller, go the extra mile. Pay attention to these common mistakes before you submit your draft to your publisher. That way, you won’t have to be one of those bestselling authors with a record of rejections. Treat your submission as your greatest masterpiece.