Creative writing is a difficult art. We learn and we improve, yet we often slip up and make common mistakes. These mistakes are so common that everyone is tired of them, no one mentions them anymore. And as new writers come along, these mistakes are made again and again.
Are these mistakes really unavoidable? No, not at all. By avoiding these mistakes, your writing will be better, and you will see that by not making them, you became a better writer.
So to solve this problem I created a list of creative writing mistakes to avoid. By being conscious of the mistakes, you can be careful and not make them in your fiction, articles, reports, etc.
Don’ts of Creative Writing
- Are you reading other writing? If not, you are in big trouble. Read. If you want to become a better writer, it goes without saying that you need to read to see how it’s done. If you are a novelist, read novels. If you are an essayist, read essays. If you are a poet, read poetry. And so on… but if you don’t read, then suffice to say, your writing will not be professional.
- Are you plagiarizing your writing? It sounds easy enough, to copy paste someone else’s writing and pass it off as your won. It is easy enough. If you are clever enough, you could even reword someone else’s writing and pass it off as your own. But why would you want to? It won’t gain you any credibility or readers. It’ll just harm your reputation.
- Are you using big words and complicated flowery prose? There was a time when all the books written used flowery and complicated prose, and readers didn’t seem to mind. That was long ago, though, and as attention spans keep shortening and the rise of short form media such as Twitter have changed the mindset. Now, people don’t want to read flowery prose. They want to read short, simple and punchy sentences. They want short, not long paragraphs. They want something good but short.
- Are you copying someone else’s writing voice? Writing voice is unique. Every writer has his own writing voice. To test if your writing voice is unique, simply read it aloud and you will know if you compare it by reading aloud a different text. If you copy someone else’s voice, your story or work will not be as good as it will be if you used your very own writing voice. It takes time to develop… but it’s worth it. Just practise writing as you like it; don’t try to copy famous authors’ writing voices. (More resources about writing voice: here and here. Have trouble finding your writing voice? Then read this post).
- Are you using too many adjectives and adverbs? This is kind of from the previous post. If you rely upon an overused adjective or adverb to do the description work and don’t use a strong verb, you don’t paint a picture of your writing in the reader’s mind. Adverbs like “suddenly”, “simply”, “painfully” etc are overused. That’s not to say you can’t use them; do use them but don’t rely upon them for too much description.
Now you know all the mistakes. You can avoid them. But if you still aren’t satisfied with your writing? Don’t worry. Some more tips and tricks are found below:
Dos of Creative Writing
- Write as much as you can. This is also pretty well known advice, but just in case you only tried the advanced tips, remember that beginner tips work very well too. Have a regular writing schedule. Some popular writers say that you must write every day. That’s all great, but writing is a mental job, and you can’t expect to have new writing ideas in your head every day. So write as much as you can, but tweak your schedule according to your needs.
- Try to make your openings as compelling and grabbing as possible. If you begin at the beginning, don’t use well known openings such as first day in school, packing for new house, etc. Grab the reader with compelling openings. In fiction, your opening chapters must be as interesting as possible. For more, read How to Write Compelling Opening Chapters in Fiction.
- Hunt for new writing methods, processes and advice. It’s all very well to follow a given writing method, a given process, and some given advice. But after some time, when you feel your writing getting stale, it’s time to step out of your boundary a little bit and hunt for everything new. Where? Anywhere, of course. The Internet is a big resource. Then there are creative writing books etc etc.
And that’s it for this post, and the end of the Creative Writing 101 series. Feel free to share feedback and advice about the series. Did I explain everything well? Was the series blah-blah and boring or did it contain some great advice? Have your say in the comments section below.
Want to read more about creative writing? Then subscribe to Writers’ Treasure for free today.