Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ten Signs of a Beginner Writer

We all have to start somewhere. The problem is that a lot of us tend to start in the same place, especially when we're young. If you’re new to writing or have an old piece you’re thinking of reworking, take a look at this list and see what you can avoid:

1) That bedroom scene. Alarm clocks, reflection described in a mirror, possibly a text, and nearly always a girl. Half the time it's followed by a breakfast scene... Maybe start where the story starts?

2) Character descriptions are limited to hair and eyes, hair and eyes.

3) The narrative sounds more like a peppy teenager talking to you rather than structured writing conveying character. It can be hard to find the line between a colloquial narrative and writing a transcript, but writing and speech are two separate skills.

4) Too many adjectives and adverbs. The red car went down the bumpy road and hit a defenceless cat.

5) The only senses described are visual. What about smell and taste, hearing and texture?

6) Time flies by within a sentence, constantly. One paragraph is at a friend’s house, and now we’re at the cinema. School the next day is also next paragraph... Quick transitions are good but jumping around is disorientating.

7) Nothing really happens in chapter one. Chapter one was just to introduce Stacy, the lovable character. What’s the book about? You’ll have to read on.

8) Homophones. Bad punctuation. Typos. There is so much to learn, and thus so many errors. Once you learn it, go back and fix these!

9) Repetitive sentence structure. Stacy went to the shops. Stacy was hungry. Stacy can get lost.

10) A fresh idea. Okay, so the first chapter needs redrafting and there are still writing skills to be learned, but there’s a fantastic new idea in that novel just waiting for the writer to blossom.

Feel free to add in more below!