10 Major Mistakes Made by Novel Writers

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Crafting a novel is an artistic and rewarding pursuit, yet it presents its share of obstacles. Both budding authors and experienced writers encounter universal stumbling blocks that can impede the triumph of their literary endeavors. This article aims to thoroughly explore ten prevalent blunders frequently committed by novel writers, shedding light on effective strategies to circumvent these pitfalls.

10 Major Mistakes Made by Novel Writers

Whether it’s grappling with inconsistent pacing, grappling with two-dimensional characters, or succumbing to the allure of excessive exposition, novel writers often grapple with these challenges. By examining these pitfalls and offering actionable guidance, this article equips novel writers with the tools they need to elevate their storytelling prowess and create captivating narratives that resonate with readers on a profound level.

Neglecting Proper Planning

A glaring and often detrimental oversight frequently committed by novice novel writers is the impulsive leap into their narrative’s depths, devoid of a well-defined blueprint. The absence of a sturdy outline can precipitate a treacherous path, causing the narrative thread to unravel and leaving readers entangled in a web of incongruities and perplexities. To preempt this predicament, it is incumbent upon aspiring novel writers to embark on their creative journey armed with a meticulously constructed roadmap.

This entails investing precious time in delineating the contours of the story, meticulously charting the trajectory of main plotlines and character odysseys prior to commencing the actual writing process. By embracing this strategic approach, novel writers can forge a harmonious convergence of plot elements and character motivations, elevating their literary opus to a level that resonates coherently with readers, thus underscoring their prowess in the art of storytelling.

Weak Character Development

Undoubtedly, the lifeline of any novel rests within its characters, and the proficiency with which novel writers nurture their evolution profoundly impacts reader engagement. The art of character development, when disregarded, can usher in a realm of detachment and disillusionment among readers. The protagonists and antagonists alike yearn for layers that unravel the core of their being, making their experiences and aspirations resoundingly relatable.

To avoid this pitfall, novel writers are tasked with delving into the psyche of their characters, meticulously weaving together intricate tapestries of motivations, strengths, frailties, and idiosyncrasies. Each character’s journey should be a symphony of growth, ensuring their metamorphosis is as palpable on the page as it is within the reader’s imagination. By meticulously crafting multidimensional characters, novel writers infuse authenticity into their narrative fabric, forging an unbreakable bond between the written word and the eager reader, a testament to their mastery of storytelling.

Lack of Conflict and Tension

A paramount consideration for novel writers lies in recognizing the pivotal role that conflict and tension play in sculpting a riveting narrative. Indeed, these dynamic elements operate as the driving force that propels a story’s momentum, etching an indelible imprint upon the reader’s engagement. Novice novel writers who overlook the potency of conflict inadvertently tread the path of narrative stagnation, wherein the absence of palpable tension can dampen the literary voyage. The journey toward literary excellence necessitates an adept infusion of adversities and trials, artfully woven to scrutinize characters’ mettle and galvanize the narrative’s progression. By embracing this cardinal principle, novel writers breathe life into their creations, orchestrating a symphony of discord and resonance that resonates vibrantly with readers’ sensibilities.

Each chapter is given a planned interplay of conflicts that forces characters to change while also igniting readers’ curiosity. Novelists expertly choreograph a dance of anticipation and fulfillment as they deftly traverse twists and turns, drawing readers into an engrossing world of literary delight. The true alchemy of storytelling lives in this dynamic interplay of conflict and resolution, which is a monument to the cunning and skill of novelists who create stories that stick with readers long after the last page has been turned.

Inadequate World-building

World-building stands as an imperious cornerstone in the arsenal of novel writers, a potent elixir that bestows vitality upon their narratives, whether they unfold in realms of fantasy or the tangible landscapes of reality. The oversight of neglecting this intricate craft can precipitate a disconcerting rift between readers and the tapestry of the story, undermining the very essence of literary enchantment. Akin to an architect sketching the blueprint of an ethereal realm, novel writers are entrusted with the formidable task of delineating a milieu that pulsates with life and authenticity.

Embracing world-building signifies painting each scene with brushstrokes of detail, conjuring not only the visual panorama but also the rich tapestry of culture, norms, and unspoken customs that infuse vibrancy into the narrative tapestry. Just as the denizens of these worlds breathe and interact, so should the landscapes they inhabit, fostering an immersive intimacy that binds readers to the unfolding saga. Be it a realm replete with mythical creatures or a bustling urban sprawl, the conscientious craftsmanship of novel writers lies in crafting an environment that transcends mere backdrop and emerges as an integral character, evoking emotions as tangible as ink on paper.

By weaving an intricate tapestry of sights, sounds, smells, and idiosyncrasies, novel writers kindle a beacon of connection that resonates with readers, beckoning them to explore the uncharted depths of imagination. Thus, the potent symphony of meticulous world-building serves as a conduit, channeling the ethereal into the material, making the written word a portal through which readers venture, hand in hand with the sagacious guides – the novel writers – who illuminate uncharted realms with their narrative sorcery.

Unfocused Plot

In the labyrinthine realm of storytelling, novel writers wield an unequivocal power to either ensnare or estrange readers through the trajectory of their plot. The hazard of a meandering plot, fraught with tangential subplots, looms ominously, often triggering the ebbing tide of reader engagement. In their quest to craft narratives that resonate, novel writers must meticulously navigate the currents of purpose and direction.

A focused plot, akin to a finely tuned instrument, resonates with harmony, guiding readers through a symphony of carefully orchestrated scenes. Each chapter becomes a brushstroke upon the canvas of the narrative, contributing to the breathtaking panorama of story advancement and character evolution. The craft lies in recognizing that every scene, a pivotal note within the opus, serves as a conduit to deepen character dimensions or propel the grand arc forward.

The sagacity of novel writers emerges in their discernment to wield the editorial scalpel, excising superfluous subplots that threaten to entwine the reader in a web of bewilderment. Each thread introduced must seamlessly weave into the fabric of the overarching tale, enhancing the tapestry rather than unravelling it. By shepherding the plot with acumen, novel writers forge a literary expedition that beckons readers to traverse its well-trodden path, embarking on a journey of discovery and immersion that culminates in the symphonic crescendo of a gratifying denouement.

Overcomplicated Language

In the realm of literary artistry, novel writers are entrusted not only with wielding the brush of creativity but also with the sculptor’s chisel of communication. The allure of ornate prose, while enchanting, can ensnare readers within the labyrinth of ambiguity and hinder the crystalline flow of comprehension. It is within the tapestry of words that the delicate balance between elegance and accessibility must be woven.

While the cadence of eloquence can lend a symphonic resonance to the narrative, an overabundance of complexity can obscure the very essence of the tale being told. The mastery of novel writers lies in the judicious selection of words, constructing sentences that serve as bridges between the mind of the author and the realm of the reader. Clarity stands as the North Star, guiding the expedition through the universe of ideas, ensuring that the path remains unobstructed by unnecessary linguistic convolutions.

Striving for simplicity does not entail a sacrifice of artistry; rather, it embraces the subtle dance of brevity and expressiveness. Descriptive language, akin to strokes of color on a canvas, can imbue the narrative with vividness and emotion. However, a discerning hand must guide this brush, curbing the allure of verbosity that threatens to drown the melody of the prose. Novel writers, as linguistic architects, must ensure that each word resonates purposefully, painting a panorama of understanding that spans across a diverse audience, uniting hearts and minds through the harmonious symphony of storytelling.

Ignoring Editing and Proofreading

The culmination of a writer’s endeavor is not reached with the utterance of the final word. The artistry woven through pages of prose finds its zenith in the meticulous stages of editing and proofreading. Novel writers, as stewards of their narrative realms, embark upon a distinct phase of refinement, wherein the crucible of revision metamorphoses raw potential into a gleaming gem of literary excellence.

To disregard the crucible of editing is to court the tempest of grammatical miscues and narrative incongruities. These inadvertent blights can obscure the brilliance of an otherwise luminous creation, veiling it beneath the shroud of oversight. Therefore, the onus lies upon novel writers to navigate this transformative passage, unfurling their sails in pursuit of textual refinement.

Through the crucible of revision, inconsistencies are purged, characters’ voices refined, and narrative threads meticulously woven into a seamless tapestry. The writer’s pen becomes an instrument of surgical precision, carefully dissecting each sentence and paragraph, excising redundancies, and sculpting a harmonious symphony of language.

The vigilant eye of proofreading further polishes the gem, scouring for the minutest of errors that might have eluded prior scrutiny. It is in this careful choreography of editing and proofreading that novel writers sculpt their opus to gleaming perfection, reaffirming their dedication to their craft and the readers who are poised to embark on an immersive odyssey through their words.

Failure to Show, Not Tell

In the realm of storytelling, novel writers bear the profound responsibility of conjuring immersive worlds that transcend the confines of mere words. The tenet of “show, not tell” stands as a beacon, guiding writers toward a path where readers aren’t passive observers but active participants in the unfolding drama.

Novice writers often err by resorting to expository litanies, diminishing the vibrant pulse of the narrative. To illustrate emotions, actions, and events through a symphony of scenes becomes the virtuoso’s refrain, enriching the prose with vivid brushstrokes that color the reader’s imagination.

Through the art of showing, characters become more than ink on paper; they embody a spectrum of sentiments unveiled through their interactions and dialogues. The reader becomes a traveler, journeying alongside protagonists as their experiences ripple across the narrative tapestry. Dialogue, laden with nuance and subtext, morphs into a melodic exchange that harmonizes with the reader’s heartbeat.

Avoiding the pitfall of excessive exposition, novel writers engage in a dance where every scene acts as a tableau vivant, chiseled with emotion and vibrant detail. This choreography invokes empathy, propelling readers beyond the role of observers into the realm of co-creators. Thus, through the harmonious alliance of actions, emotions, and dialogue, writers orchestrate a symphony of immersion, inviting readers to traverse uncharted territories, their minds ignited by the sparks of imagination, a testament to the indelible magic woven by the hands of novel writers.

Disregarding Reader Feedback

Within the realm of literary craftsmanship, novel writers stand at a crossroads where the convergence of artistic vision and external input shapes the narrative tapestry. An oft-lamented misstep is the inclination to disregard the echoes of beta readers and critique partners. Akin to a sculptor refining their masterpiece, writers risk stifling growth by dismissing perspectives that don’t mirror their own.

Diverse voices, akin to a kaleidoscope, refract myriad interpretations that illuminate hidden facets. The allure of alignment with one’s vision must not eclipse the profound value that diverse viewpoints bring. Beta readers and critique partners, akin to navigators guiding uncharted waters, unravel threads that fortify plot arcs and invigorate character nuances.

The discerning acumen of novel writers arises in their ability to sift through feedback, discerning diamonds from dross. A suggestion that diverges from the original design might illuminate previously unexplored avenues, enriching the narrative tapestry. By embracing these varied insights, writers stoke the alchemical fires of their creativity, forging a symbiotic relationship between their artistic essence and the perceptions of others.

In the hallowed dance of creation and collaboration, writers transmute raw potential into refined brilliance. Dismissing feedback, a manifestation of the symbiotic reader-writer relationship, truncates this transformative journey. The synergy of literary kinship thrives when novel writers meld their narrative tapestries with the woven threads of reader insights, culminating in a luminous masterpiece that resonates with the heartbeat of collective imagination.

Rushing the Conclusion

As the symphony of a narrative crescendos, novel writers wield the conductor’s baton, orchestrating a conclusion that harmonizes with the epic tale spun across pages. The precipitous error of haste, akin to a hasty final note, may tarnish the exquisite opus woven with meticulous care. An abrupt conclusion reverberates with unresolved dissonance, leaving readers adrift amidst unfurled plot threads and lingering queries.

The finale is a tapestry where each thread of intrigue, every character arc, converges in an elegant resolution. Foresight becomes the writer’s compass, guiding them through the labyrinthine corridors of closure. In the tapestry’s weaving, novel writers bestow a gift upon their readers: the gratification of fulfilled expectations and a journey’s end that feels resolute.

The process of unraveling intricate knots demands patience and a sagacious hand. As the quill glides, each plot thread must be artfully threaded through the needle of resolution, leaving no loose end to snag the reader’s immersion. A judicious unveiling of secrets and revelations elevates the concluding chapters, bestowing a crescendo of emotional resonance upon eager hearts.

By resisting the allure of haste, writers perpetuate an immersive spell, allowing readers to bask in the glow of consummate closure. As the final words ink the page, the echo of a well-constructed resolution resonates within the reader’s psyche, a testament to the writer’s craftsmanship. In the delicate ballet of conclusion, novel writers grant readers the gift of satisfaction, sealing the narrative with a flourish that lingers long after the final page is turned.


Embarking on the journey of novel writing is a gratifying yet formidable expedition, demanding meticulous planning, unwavering commitment, and an openness to glean wisdom from missteps. Novel writers who sidestep these 10 pivotal pitfalls are primed to weave narratives that captivate and endure in readers’ hearts. Each error serves as a stepping stone toward refinement, nurturing growth and elevating the craft.

10 Major Mistakes Made by Novel Writers

As your quill dances across the parchment, embrace the artistry of learning, for in the tapestry of storytelling, every mistake threads the needle of progress, stitching together a richer and more resonant narrative that etches your name in the annals of literary accomplishment.

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Is it necessary to outline my novel before writing?

Yes, outlining helps you maintain a clear and organized structure for your story.

Can I have multiple protagonists in my novel?

Absolutely, but ensure each character’s arc is well-developed and contributes to the overall plot.

How can I effectively show emotions without telling?

Use body language, actions, and dialogue to convey emotions and create relatable characters.

What’s the best way to approach editing my novel?

Between writing and editing sessions, take a pause to give yourself a new perspective.

Where can I find beta readers to provide feedback on my novel?

Online writing communities and workshops are great places to connect with potential beta readers.

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