The Common Mistakes of Authors (Includes Tips)

January 9th, 2013

Do you think you feel lost whenever you want to start writing a story? Don’t worry, this article isn’t meant to criticize other authors, but meant to offer some tips that could help you improve your writing skills. This may be the right time to start learning!

The following article contains the common mistakes of many authors, and may include some tips for writing more eye-catching stories. These tips may not be needed by expert writers that already have a lot of experiences in publishing stories, but young authors surely do. I myself, am a young author too, but not because I am able to share these tips means I am already an expert writer. I admit that I make mistakes, too. I just wanted to share my current knowledge on how to create a better story by indulging myself both in a reader’s and writer’s point of view.

There are 3 things that most authors in online story-publishing stories always get confused about: The description of the story, the prologue, and the ending. Let us discuss them one at a time.

DESCRIPTIONAside from the plot, this is another important thing in catching the reader’s attention. In websites, you could see it just below the story’s title. In books, it is found at the back cover. Most authors make big mistakes by just taking out a certain scene from the story itself and voila: Their descriptions are done. That is wrong. Big no-no.

When we say description, it pertains to a quick overview of the story, and could contain some witty questions that could give hints on how the story would flow. For example:

Title: The abduction

Description #1: I passed by the eerily silent street with beads of sweat trailing the sides of my face. A bright light suddenly flashed above me, and I saw the outline of a 3 feet grotesque figure. I tried to scream but I already fainted. I knew I was abducted.

Description #2: Tom never knew why he seemed to be the only one that notices the unusual things. Vivid dreams, inhuman figures, and weird noises kept on bugging him every night. It was all so confusing for him, but everything became clear after one night. All it took was an abduction.

Both the descriptions seem so interesting, right? Description #1 showed a scene on the night when the speaker was abducted, while Description #2 showed the “feel” the story would provide by stating the abnormal things that happened to Tom before he was abducted. Though both of them feel right, #1 is not. It is best to be placed as a prologue, which would be discussed later on. Since the description only needs a quick overview to give tiny hints on the story’s flow, #2 is the right one.

If you don’t agree with me, feel free to tell me. Now let’s proceed to the next one.

PROLOGUEThis is optional for a story. Sometimes, a prologue isn’t that necessary that it would be better to not put one at all. One of its purposes is to increase the reader’s desire to continue reading, which means it should be good enough to make him flip (or click) to the next page.

Another purpose is to explain a background story that supports the actual story. This limits the use of flashbacks that are only there to explain something about the character or event. When you know that you would need to insert several flashbacks that would only ruin the flow of the story, a prologue would be handy. It still depends on the author, though, if what style he would use. May it be of an unknown person’s point of view, God’s point of view, or simply a narration of a past occurrence; it all depends on imagination and creativity.

Like what I have said earlier, the prologue is the right place to insert a scene from the story. It doesn’t matter what kind of scene as long as it is able to poke the curiosity of the reader and show the special feature of the story at the same time.

Once again, it all depends on the author. If you think a prologue is necessary, then put one, but if you don’t find it necessary anymore and the story itself already could explain everything on its own, then feel free to skip the prologue trouble. Anyway, to all those that still don’t know, epilogue is the opposite of prologue. If one is present, then the other should be there, too.

ENDINGNow this is the big deal. If you screw this up, then expect to receive disappointed readers. A frustrating ending could still be bearable in single chapter stories or what is termed “one shot”, but when it comes to those 10 to 20 chaptered chapters, it makes you feel like clawing your hair out.

The common mistake many authors make is creating an ending that look rushed. As if the creator lost all interest halfway in creating the story and just wrote whatever came to mind just so he could say he was able to finish it. First of all, before you write a story, think twice and ask yourself if you will have the patience to keep writing until the end.

Another common mistake, which usually occurs in novels, is a very frustrating, unexplainable twist. You know, just like those movies where you think it’s already a happy ending, but then the enemy that was supposed to be not there anymore wakes up and kills all the remaining protagonists. You’re like, “WTF, that killer was thrown in a volcano, how come he’s still alive?!”

No matter how we, authors, want to make our stories unforgettable and unexpected, we should make sure to keep a logical explanation to that huge twist instead of just putting it there in a pathetic struggle to surprise the readers. Remember: readers don’t want to be disappointed in the end, especially when they read more than 10,000 words.

And that’s the end of it! Just for a summary (which could also benefit those that didn’t bother to read this article word by word), I decided to gather all the most important parts. Go ahead and copy them if you like!

  • Before you write a story, think twice and ask yourself if you will have the patience to keep writing until the end.
  • A description is meant to show a short overview of how the story would flow.
  • Remember: readers don’t want to be disappointed in the end.
  • No matter how much you want to make an unexpected twist, make sure to show a logical explanation to it.
  • Using a scene from the story as a description is a big no-no. The right place to do that is the prologue.
  • Before putting in a prologue, think twice if it would actually be necessary to have one or not. Sometimes having none is better.

I just want to say it again that I am just a young writer and I know I still have a lot to learn, so if you disagree with something I did in here and you know that you know better, then I’d appreciate it if you leave a comment. I am just as eager to learn as you! Thank you, and good luck in creating stories!

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