2. Being unteachable. I knew a writer once who had real talent but whenever I would critique her writing and point out areas where she needed improvement, she’d get angry and argue with me. Part of becoming a great writer is learning to be humble enough to receive instruction from others.
3. Not entering contests for fear of losing. Let’s face it, it’s hard to lose, it’s hard to come in 99th out of 100 entries! But I say enter all the contests you can afford to enter. It’s a great way to receive valuable critiques from published authors for cheap! And when you get their scores and comments back, read number 2 above.
4. Focusing more on grammar and punctuation and sentence structure than on characters, plot, and dialogue. You may end up with a perfectly written and eloquent book, but if you don’t have great characters and an interesting plot, no one will read it.
5. Not spending enough time developing your characters. Characters drive your story. You must have interesting, deep, sympathetic characters or you will lose your reader. They must be complex and contradictory. They must have strong fears and goals and dreams and weaknesses. Get ahold of character charts and character interviews that other authors use and really spend the time on each main character until you feel like they are your best friends. If you don’t, they will end up one-dimensional and the story will be flat.
6. Not spending enough time plotting your story. Plot is equally important, yet I come across so many stories that wind around in maze and end up going nowhere. Scene after scene goes by with nothing really happening and nothing driving the story forward. Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, you still must take the time to determine where your book is going and how it’s going to get there, and then make every scene count.
7. Not having a moral or theme to your story. If you want your book to be memorable, you need to have a purpose to it, some point or lesson you want the reader to grasp. Even if you’re only writing fluffy romances, you can still interject a moral or theme. In fact, having a strong theme can really aid in developing plot.
8. Getting discouraged after a few rejections. If you’re a writer, you’re a writer. You will write no matter how many rejections you get. You won’t be able to help it. I know you’ve heard this before but this is a tough business to break into. Commitment and perseverance are essential. I’ve known writers who tried for 20 years to get published when finally their break came.
9. Incorporating all your hard research into your story whether it fits or not because a) You don’t want to waste all that hard work, and b) you want to impress people with your knowledge. Let me tell you a secret. Most people could care less about the details of your story. If it’s good, they will be too engrossed in the story to be impressed. In fact, they will be bored if you add too many details. Some fiction novels read more like textbooks, and I guarantee it, most people will not keep reading. Out of every 100 historical facts I may find during my research, I usually only end up using less than a quarter of them in my story, placing them seamlessly within the character actions and descriptions.
10. Going it alone. Don’t do it. I’m an introvert so I have a tendency to want to be alone, but I’ve learned that without the help and support of other authors, I wouldn’t make it. Find out if any authors live in your area and connect with them. If not, join online groups. Make friends and discuss the business, your fears, your hopes, exchange manuscripts, pray for each other. Believe me, you’re going to need it.
11. Don’t write to market. In other words don’t write what you think will sell or what seems to be selling well or what everyone tells you will sell well IF it goes against what God has put on your heart to write. Write that story burning on your heart.. you know the one. It’s the one that if you don’t tell it, you feel like you will explode. It’s the one that you get really excited about whenever you start thinking about the story and characters. That’s the one you write.
A Christy Award finalist and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling pirates during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. Only by the grace and providence of God, did she decide to answer His call to write her first trilogy, Legacy of the King’s Pirates. Now, with over a dozen novels published, she continues to pen her romantic tales while managing a home, husband, six adult kids, and three cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep! She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation in life is to bring others closer to God.
For more information on MaryLu and her books, please visit her website or her blog
or you can find her on Facebook!
or you can find her on Facebook!
They Left Everything Behind to Build a New Southern Utopia
Colonel Blake Wallace has seen enough death to last a lifetime. Weary and disillusioned, he slumps beneath the weight of defeat and loss. With his entire family murdered by the North and his name appearing on a list of officers wanted for war crimes, Blake organizes a shipload of southerners who, like him, long to escape the horrors of war and start a new life in a verdant land called Brazil.
Eliza Crawford can barely remember the days of her youth spent in opulence and comfort at her Georgian home. She can't help but wonder how different her life would be had she not met her late husband, Stanton Watts, a general in the Northern army. Now a war widow, Eliza is rejected by both North and South. Desperate to keep her marriage a secret and escape her past and pain, she longs to start over again in Brazil.
But once the voyage begins, troubles abound. Dangers at sea and enemies from within threaten to keep Blake and Eliza from the new life—and love—they long for.
Enter to Win a copy of Forsaken Dreams
by leaving your email address with your
message to MaryLu Tyndall in the
comment area below.
If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.
*For extra entries -- leave a comment for each time you do any of the following...
- Follow/Join MaryLu Tyndall's Blog
- "Like" MaryLu Tyndall's Facebook Author Page
- Share what you love most about Pirates and why! :-)
- Share which of the common mistakes you can relate to the most as a writer!
- Follow/Join Ritty's Adventures in Writing Blog
- "Like" - Ritty's Adventures in Writing - Facebook Page
- Share this blog post/giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest... or just send the link to a friend in an email!
Last entries will be accepted on
Wednesday, May 22nd at 11:59p.m.
Wednesday, May 22nd at 11:59p.m.
on Thursday, May 23rd
Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.
Check out MaryLu Tyndalls' Guest Post #1: