Are you in the middle of writing a novel? Have you been struggling to make progress? From neglecting your character arcs to info-dumping, these blunders will kill your novel before it ever has a chance to get off the ground. So before you do any more damage, take a step back and see if you're guilty of any of these crimes against fiction...
1. Not Planning Ahead
You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, would you? So why would you try to write a novel without any sort of plan? If you're just winging it, chances are good that you'll get yourself stuck at some point. And when you're stuck, it's hard to move forward. The solution is simple: take some time to outline your story before you start writing. That way, you'll always know where you're going and what needs to happen next.
2. Focusing on the Wrong Things
When you're writing a novel, it's easy to get bogged down in the details. But the truth is, not all details are created equal. There's a big difference between an important plot point and a minor character's favorite color. If you find yourself getting lost in the weeds, ask yourself whether the thing you're focusing on is actually important to the story. If not, move on and come back later.
3. Failing to Set the Scene
If you want your readers to be fully invested in your story, you need to set the scene early on. This means transporting them to the world of your story so they can get a feel for the time period, the location, and the culture. Don't just assume they'll be able to fill in the blanks; give them enough detail to truly immerse themselves in your story world.
One surefire way to lose your reader's interest is to info-dump all over them. This is when you stop the action in order to deliver a huge chunk of exposition or backstory that is totally unnecessary to understanding what's going on in the present moment. If you find yourself tempted to info-dump, ask yourself if there's a better way to deliver that information—perhaps through dialogue or inner monologue?—or if it can be cut entirely without harming the plot or character development.
Related to info-dumping is another writing mistake: over-explaining everything that happens in your story. Sometimes less is more, so resist the urge to provide an overly detailed explanation for every little event that occurs. Remember that your readers are smart and perceptive; they don't need everything spelled out for them explicitly in order for them to understand what's going on. Trust that they'll be able fill in any gaps themselves without issue.
Head-hopping is when you switch perspectives mid-scene without warning, hopping from one character's head into another's without giving the reader any indication that you're doing so. This can be confusing and jarring for readers, so it's best avoided if at all possible. If you absolutely must head-hop, make sure it's done sparingly and with great care so as not to disorient your reader too much.
7 . Making Everything Happen for Convenience's Sake
Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do as a writer is force things to happen in your story just because it's convenient for you as the author. This often manifests as deus ex machina—a sudden, last-minute solution that comes out of nowhere and solves all of your characters' problems without any real effort on their part . Deus ex machina is lazy writing, and it will leave your readers feeling angry and cheated. So instead of taking this easy way out, put in the work needed to earn those satisfying resolutions.
If you're working on a novel, chances are good that you 're making at least one of these seven deadly writing mistakes. From neglecting your character arcs to info - dumping, these errors will kill your novel before it even has a chance to get off the ground. So take a step back and review this list to see if any apply to what you 're working on currently — then avoid them like the plague! Trust me, your readers will thank you.