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15 Signs You May be a Beginning Writer

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

  1. You have a lot of ideas but never start working on any of them because you’re waiting for inspiration/the muse to strike you

  2. You may or may not read books on craft

  3. You’re chasing the latest trends (vampires, magicians, dragons, contemporary romances, fandom, social media fiction, etc.) rather than telling a story that will compel readers to read

  4. Your characters are flat and underdeveloped (we don’t know who our protagonist is nor what she wants)

  5. You’re writing about an idea rather than about people

  6. You sit in front of a blank sheet of paper or your computer and walk away before finishing what you’d set out to do for the day (be it one page, a thousand words, or whatever it is you set out to write that day)

  7. You don’t know where to begin or how to start your story

  8. You mimic your favorite novel/writer’s work (that’s not a bad thing to do, actually. In fact, I recommend it, as it lets you experience how it feels to write something that’s made it all the way to being published.) But that’s practice. You’ll need to have your own voice, your own style, and figure out your own way so it’s not obviously derivative of someone else’s work

  9. You spend too much time thinking about the title of your book before writing the first line (thinking about titles is fine, but it’s the writing that should be your main concern. You can put a placeholder title for now, or have no title at all until you know what the story is about)

  10. Ending your novel with “It was all a dream,” or by employing some form of Deus ex Machina (meaning you bring in a character or something that miraculously solves your protagonist’s problem). Hint: everything in your novel must be earned somehow

  11. You believe your first draft is “the book.” It’s not. Writing is rewriting, and your first draft is a heck of an accomplishment. You should celebrate. But it’s only the beginning. As William Faulkner said, “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

  12. You don’t seek out criticism. You think what you’ve written is already perfect, and that everyone who reads it will see it in the same light that you do (newsflash: they won’t.”)

  13. You’re easily offended by the criticism you do get once you put your work out there, and maybe even go on the attack because they “don’t get it.”

  14. You have spelling errors, grammar errors, formatting errors, and so on

  15. Querying literary agents too soon

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”

― Octavia E. Butler

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Nov 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great tips

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