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Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Novel

Updated on February 19, 2014

A Little Background to Start Us Off

I have spent a considerable amount of time over the past three years corresponding with editors, publishers and agents. I have done this because I have a desire to be published in the traditional way, by a publishing company, so I decided early on to pick the brains of the professionals and find out what they are looking for.

To put a different spin on it, I also wanted to know what they were not looking for. I wanted to know what mistakes they see during their daily dealings with writers so that I could avoid those mistakes.

This article, then, is a result of those conversations. What follows is a brief description of some errors that publishers have seen over the years, errors that you should avoid regardless of whether you are trying to be discovered by a traditional publisher or you are simply an ebook writer.

Will avoiding these errors guarantee you success? Certainly not, but it certainly will help you as you attempt to write the next great work of literary genius.

Limit the number of characters you introduce in the first chapter
Limit the number of characters you introduce in the first chapter | Source

Cramming Too Much in the First Few Chapters

You have all seen it done. A writer will feel compelled, for whatever reason, to introduce most of the main characters in the first couple of chapters. Before the reader has even gotten comfortable in his/her favorite chair with a hot cup of coffee, five characters have been introduced complete with their character backgrounds.

Can you say overload?

A novel is a long-process. A writer has 100,000-150,000 words to play with; there is no need to cram so much into the first few chapters. Use those first chapters to write a solid, captivating scene and take your time introducing the main players. Your readers will thank you for it.

A much better approach is to write a dynamic first scene and introduce the main character. Then, as the story unfolds, you can introduce the secondary characters slowly so they can have maximum impact.

A Novel Is Not an Outline

This is a common mistake made by beginners in the writing business. They will write an outline of their novel and then their actual writing of that novel reads like an outline. They move from one subheading to the next and their story ends up sounding like the cliff notes of “Crime And Punishment.”

A novel is scene description. A novel is character development. A novel is a main plot with numerous subplots, all interwoven into an intricate storyline. It should flow and have rhythm. It should never read like a stilted list of events.

When writing a novel, each plot point on your outline should be a compelling scene in the novel, with emphasis on compelling. Do not shortchange your readers; they will thank you for the extra effort.

Pretty as a picture? I think not; I can do much better in describing this scene.
Pretty as a picture? I think not; I can do much better in describing this scene. | Source

Avoid Overused, Cute Describers

Cliches are clichés because everyone uses them. Is that the type of writer you hope to be?

It takes time and effort to write compelling dialogue, so put in that time and effort. I was reading a short story recently and in it the author wrote “she was pretty as a picture.” Oh really? Have you ever seen “The Scream” by Edvard Munch? If that’s the kind of “pretty” the character was then I’m glad I didn’t date her.

Also avoid needless modifiers like boring adverbs or lazy adjectives. Saying a character was “slight sad” tells me nothing. Show me what “slightly sad” looks like rather than just tossing out two lazy words.

Don’t Take the Easy Way Out

Yes, I have seen this happen. A writer does a terrific job of building suspense for 120,000 words and then, at the moment of climax, he takes the easy way out and deflates his audience. It’s like all of his efforts went into the build-up of tension and then he had no idea what to do at the end. Great story-teller….horrible promise-keeper!

I read a book once where, at the end, the main character woke up from a dream and none of what happened in the book actually happened. Talk about annoying! If I have invested days in the reading of a book, I want an ending that is worth those days of reading.

If you find yourself lacking a suitable ending, go back to your outline or plot map and re-work it. Do some more brainstorming so that you can come up with a suitable resolution. In other words, reward your readers for the effort they have put into your novel.

Trying to Stretch a Short Story into a Novel

It is a true that most novelists begin their writing careers by writing short stories. A short story is, in a very real sense, a miniature novel that has all the essentials of a novel….plot, character development, theme…..but…..it is a huge step from writing a short story to writing a novel. Keeping the reader’s interest for 10,000 words is much easier than doing it for 100,000 words.

Many short stories simply do not have the depth to make it as novels. Many short story writers do not have the depth to make it as novelists. Those are truths that must be recognized. If your novel drags about midway through completion, it is usually because that novel needs more than the short story you developed in your mind.

Do a great job of describing scenes and characters
Do a great job of describing scenes and characters | Source

Description Is Awol (away Without Leave)

The writer is the Great Describer for the reader. Through the novelist the reader experiences the five senses of touch, sight, hearing, feeling and taste.

Many first-time novelists are so eager to tell their story that they forget this important part of novel writing. They want to get to the action; they want constant movement; and they forget that they need to help their readers to visualize what is happening.

Here is a general rule of thumb when writing a novel: if it is worth mentioning then it is worth describing. Even a castaway line like “we saw two lovers walking in the park” will have more depth if you write “we saw two lovers in the park looking moonstruck and deliriously happy.” The first example leaves the reader feeling empty and uninvolved; the second example at least gives the reader a visual he can relate to.

Don’t Rush the Revision

This is a very common mistake. The writer has spent months writing the novel and finally the first draft is done. They are eager to finish it, eager to publish it, and just plain eager to get on with their lives….so….they rush through the revision process and ultimately hurt themselves greatly.

Revisions are vital and publishers can tell if you have rushed this part of the process. Many writers will print their entire novel and sit down and read it in one reading, using post-it notes to flag sections that do not make sense or are weak. Then they will return to those sections and strengthen them.

When they are all done with that effort, they will then ask someone else to do the same thing. Count on at least two revisions before turning it over to an editor.

That Should Be Enough to Get You Started

So there you have it. Correcting these errors may not guarantee publication but they will at least put you on the road to possibly getting published.

One final note: there are no shortcuts when writing a good novel. If it is worth doing then it is worth doing well. I send you best wishes as you prepare to write your next masterpiece.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Venkatachari M, thank you for revisiting this one. I hope it helps you in the future.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      A very useful guidance. I think it is written before my joining hubpages. I came across this through my hubpages weekly mail last week which emphasized upon 'Great novel writing Hubs' and I kept it stored for reading later.

      Thanks once again for your useful guidelines to writers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Brian, and I hope you do write another one my friend. This world needs all the quality literature it can get.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      These very helpful tips will be on my mind if I write another novel.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Sylvia. Thank you for the following and kind words.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image

      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Great article! Thank you, it helps.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh my goodness, Pitzele....if you are raising kids....good luck, and I don't mean that in a nasty sense. Yes, I reserve time to write on my novel daily, but then I have the time to do that. You are facing pressures I don't have to face. :)

    • pitzele profile image

      pitzele 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you. Perhaps I should just wait until my kids are grown up to even dream of having enough time to write. Do you reserve periods during your day for writing or do you "go with the flow"?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Rebecca...I hope it helps and good luck to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suzette. I was a bit surprised that HP featured this, but I'm glad they did.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pitzele, I'm afraid that comes down to how badly you want to do it. Take baby steps so the process doesn't seem so large. Start with a rough outline...then write the first chapter....or even part of the first chapter. Give yourself doable chunks to work on daily....and good luck.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, good to see you. I suspect that your problem is shared by many writers. Writing a full-length novel is not easy. Try expanding your scene descriptions and character development. If that doesn't help, leave them alone. Sooner or later the story will come to you. Remember that you need a spark every 20,000 words or so to propel the story to the next level.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      EXTREMELY helpful! Thanks for taking the time to research and share this.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thanks for the tips and advice and what not to do when writing a novel. I don't know how I missed this hub, but I am glad to read it now. Thanks again for sharing!

    • pitzele profile image

      pitzele 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I came to read this hub as I have been for some time mentally contemplating writing a novel. My idea is slowly developing - percolating if you will - in my mind but I have been a bit afraid to write it all down. Your hub is certainly informative and corresponds to what I have gleaned thus far from reading and re-reading my favorite author, Jane Austen. If nothing else, her novels are a primer on how to build an effective plot and how to write a readable novel. Any advice to a novice on how to not only stay motivated but how to finally get up the gumption to "write it all down"?

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 2 years ago from Nepal

      I began writing novels by developing my short stories. That's why I am stuck in the middle of my novels, and I have not added even a sentence in my two unfinished novels.

      After attending a creative writing program, I started a novel. Since the outline was inside the head and not done in a note pad, this novel is also unfinished.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Bill. I was a bit shocked to tell the truth. :)

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Nice to see this hub as one of four recommended by headquarters! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for those thoughts Glimmer. Writing a novel is a long process and I think some writers just peter out towards the end....maybe they didn't have enough for a full-length novel...whatever the case, I have read many like that and am always disappointed.

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I'm an avid mystery fan and read them voraciously. I am often disappointed at the endings of some of the ones I read. The first 4/5 of the book is great and then, it just sort of ends. We find out "who did it", but it doesn't keep me interested at all. It's like the writer gets bored or just wants to finish up. Great tips here Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Deb; take it slow and develop the story; introduce characters as you go on. There is no hurry when writing a novel.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I know EXACTLY what you mean when you say that a writer has warp sped into the descriptions of the characters in the first chapter. I have reread a few chapters so I wasn't quite so confused. Believe me, I have already learned NOT to take that bunny trail...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, you are a doll for saying so; thank you! I actually have an ebook compiled but not downloaded yet....it is on my "to do" list. LOL You know how that goes.....but you should see that book in a couple months.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      Writing a series of paranormal fiction novels is my burning desire. I like the ebook avenue and although I can really feel that pull of pride in clapping your own shiny cover, the self publishing control appeals to me.

      You really should put together a guide for writers, using the huge amount of work and information you have compilied here. I think you deserve the exposure and the writers of the world would benefit! :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, vkwok; thanks for being here.

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      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for all the helful tips, bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Sheila. I'm glad you checked back and saw my response.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for sharing that, Jackie, because I have seen the same thing. It ain't easy writing a novel.

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago

      Especially when you want to grab attention you do need to put a catchy beginning but I do think quite a few writers I have read and liked finished the book too soon and filled the ending with blah blah and it really ruins the whole book. Great advice!

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      Thanks for responding to the comments I left. I thought for sure you were going to give me a hard time about the dream ending. I did have an anonymous evaluator at a Christian book site (they evaluate new authors and give tips and such) say everyone would hate the ending I did use.

      And thanks for the tip about introducing the characters. Most of the time I try to even limit the number of characters I introduce and spread them a couple of chapters. To me, it seems to give the reader a chance to remember the names.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Martie, I didn't mean that short story writers lack depth....a short story lacks depth compared to a novel....depth of character description, of scenery, of backdrops.....there simply is not enough length in a short story to do what you can do in a novel.

      Thank you my friend for the kind words.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Seafarer, you write comments like a true writer, and that is a compliment. :) Thank you my friend.

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      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent guidelines, as always. But I don't think short story writers lack 'depth', billybuc. It's all about personality - some people merely have the ability to tell/write a message they want to deliver in a specific way. You get people with great depth who manage to deliver the most profound message or truth with a short poem or story.

      I see a novelist as an entertainer who makes it possible for readers to live another life - the sweet and the bitter - while short story writers kind of confront a reader by forcing them to face a specific issue and to get some depth or a broader perception in the process. A novelist has a specific personality and approach and certainly not more depth than a short story writer or poet.

      One of my shortcomings as a novelist: I give too much information, changing a story into a thesis of a kind. Lol!

      This is a most inspiring hub. I feel like tackling my rejected novels again.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 3 years ago from New England

      Thank you, Bill. This is a hub worth bookmarking and returning to. Always good for a novelist to have a plan and a measured approach to unfolding the story that is there to be written. So many elements to be open to...listening to one's muse....and then making sure the grand tale is well-woven in the end.

      Voted Up and Pinned

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Robin, thank you so much. It's good to hear from someone in the business who knows what is needed and what is not.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, thank you so much for stopping by. I hope others find this as helpful as you have.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Genna! Writing a novel...a good novel...is no easy task. I'm just trying to save people from making the same mistakes I have made.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia! You are appreciated as well.

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      Robin 3 years ago from Cape Town South Africa

      As a traditional (but specialist) publisher, it was great to see the advice you give here. So sensible and I am sure it will be a great help to writers. The world of writers needs you Billybuc!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great advice, there are no shortcuts. All the points that you have written about is very useful and definitely will go a long way to having a novel published. Great hub, voted up.

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      Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Bill, this article is invaluable. You have outlined those traps many of us fall into. The pacing of our elements is crucial, and not easy to master; revisions and cold reads are as well. I sometimes rush through a story or poem, and end up rewriting them after I “walk away,” for a bit.

      “Cliff notes of “Crime and Punishment.” I loved that one. :-)

      Excellent, as always.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for giving some more great advice to writers, Bill. As always, I appreciate it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Audrey!

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      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Just excellent Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Heidi, I love your sense of humor and grassroots common sense. Yes indeed; knowing one's audience is vitally important. Thanks for the suggestion and the laugh.

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Good advice no matter what the writing project! But the one thing to add to the list is understanding the audience (as we're always harping about). That can go a long way in helping to write great descriptions. What details are relevant or necessary for the audience? For example, let's say your character is enjoying a Chicago-style hot dog. For those who have never been here to Chi-town, you might need to add sauerkraut. ;)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suhail, I hope you do write that book. I think it would be a huge advantage and encouragement to your countrymen. Best wishes and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Bill! I have paid my dues and I think I've got many more to pay as well. LOL If I can save any of you time and effort then fantastic. Thanks my friend and have a great Thursday.

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      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Great suggestions, Bill!

      Many friends from my country of origin request me all the time to write a non-fiction books on adventures that could encourage younger lot there to undertake productive outdoor activities. I believe your suggestions will be immensely helpful in writing a book like that too, if and when I start writing one.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Boy, writing a novel is quite a process, but you laid out a clear path for anyone giving it a try. You clearly have paid your dues over the years and that's why we look to you for tips and advice on how to be successful with writing. Another great job.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nadine! I wish you well with your novel. I have one chapter to do to finish my first draft. Now the hard work begins. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Brian, you are a good writer. Strap on those climbing shoes and start your ascent. :) Thanks buddy!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nell, I read one such book last week. It won the two biggest awards for mystery writers and I swear to God I could write a better book...I know I could. It made no sense to me at all. Oh well, right place at the right time I guess...that and a whole bunch of luck. :) Thank you Nell!

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      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      It is always again and again great to read your tips and advice. You are so right in every way. The novel I'm working on: Parallel Realities is so totally different in every way compared to the 'Self Employed Housewife.'

      each is aimed at a different readership, but your advise is valid for both novels. Thank you

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      Brian Prickril 3 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Thanks for always plowing the way for us. After stopping by here, the mountain no longer seems so high and impossible to climb.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shyron, too funny! Keep saving them and one day who knows, right? A book will just explode out of you. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I have one chapter to go with my new novel and then revisions begin.....I am dreading doing them and I am excited about doing them.....such a life we lead, huh?

      Thank you, Liz!

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      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Bill, great advice as always, I read some books that leave me totally annoyed, and the one thing I can never understand is why some books win so many prizes for literature and they are pure rubbish, yet others write brilliant books that totally blow me aways, now if I can figure that out I may just write a good book! lol!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, you had me laughing with your first comment. Here is what will make you laugh: the ending of my first novel has the main character waking up after a dream. LOL But...and like yours, this is important...the dream serves a purpose and the story wouldn't have worked without it. So in that case it is perfectly alright.

      As for characters, there is nothing wrong with mentioning a handful of characters early on, but trying to give detailed background of five characters is a bit much and really ruins the flow of the story...so what you are doing is right on!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Bill, I have a million note, but to write a book, I have to look at a million more in quotes.

      But I will save this to my favs, for when I have another million saved.

      Shyron

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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Great advice and very helpful. I agree about the revision section too. Taking time to do revisions is key. No sense in rushing at all! Sharing!

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      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      First I have to say that if you weren't talking about my first novel when telling about the dream then don't read my first novel because I used a similar plot. Are you disappointed in me? In my own defense, everyone who has told me what they thought of the book loved the ending because, instead of not having any other way to end it, the end serves a purpose.

      Now I have a question about introducing the characters by jamming them into the first few chapters. Are you referring to giving the entire back story of the characters that quickly or does that include simply giving the names and showing them as part of the on-going action? The reason I'm asking is because I just started working on my new novel and have at least five of the main characters introduced by showing a little part of how they're involved with the plot. I do mention a few of their "quirks", but plan to explain the how and why in later chapters. This is the first time I've introduced so many characters in the first chapter and don't want to be making a huge mistake.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Flourish, thanks for the pin and the great comment. I have had the same thing happen and it has actually angered me...how dare an author do a great job of building suspense only to throw cold water on me at the end? :)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I Am Rosa, you and I follow the same approach to writing. I do exactly the same thing. I do the very basic on the first draft. Then the real work begins as I layer. Well done; thanks for sharing that.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Victoria, I'll settle for "great job" any old time. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you kerlund! Glad to see you here; stop by anytime and you will always be appreciated.

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      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Great and useful:) Thank you!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I like the approach of things to avoid. I have read some authors who used such great build-up then didn't deliver and I felt so annoyed and betrayed that they wasted my time and suckered me into reading that much that I blacklisted them from my reading list. You gotta deliver. I liked this! Voted up and more, plus pinning onto my "Writers Rock" board.

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      Victoria Van Ness 3 years ago from Prescott Valley

      I just don't know what to say anymore. :) Great job!

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      Rosa Marchisella 3 years ago from Canada

      Great tips!

      One of the things I find that helps me is to write in "layers". I write the basic story, then go back and write in back story for the characters throughout, then I go back and write in unique traits and quirks for each, then I go back and write in descriptive, etc. (Not necessarily in that order).

      I also shelf my story between drafts for a few weeks or months, then take it out and look at it with fresh eyes. It helps me see errors and omissions easier. If the story isn't fresh in my mind, I can't fill in the blanks - I immediately see where I forgot to connect the dots :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, endings are tough. I'm at the end of my novel...first draft... and the ending is proving to be difficult. I thought I had it but turns out I was overly-optimistic. I think I need some of my own advice. LOL

      Thank you dear friend.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I will never write a book. I have no desire to write a book, but i do love to write short stories on HP. I have the most difficulty with the ending. It used to be the beginning, then through your tips, i am learning to describe a character in more detail, now i am working on better endings. I don't have that problem with poetry, it seems to flow pretty good. Thank's again for all you do to help your friends in Hubville...

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, it's always a pleasure, and I do consider you a good friend. The online world has been a blessing for me.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Faith, I hope you feel better soon my dear. I don't like it when my friends are sick. Sending you an online hug and wishes for a speedy recovery.

      blessings and thanks always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I am smiling and applauding.....I hope you go ahead with that idea of yours. Trust me, you are a very good writer....how are we ever going to know if we don't try my friend. Please try!

      blessings always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joyelle, it is my pleasure. Best wishes on that second collection of short stories, and I hope one day you give the novel a try. I'll be here if you ever have any questions.

      Thank you for the kind words.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again Ann!

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      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Makes me want to revisit my novel too and take a fresh look using your advice. Could be much is lost at the end rushing it through. Thank you good buddy! ^+

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      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent tips dear Bill, as always. Oh, I love suspense and do not like to be able to figure it all out halfway through the novel! Yes, great writing keeps one turning the page, one after the other, and not wanting to put it down to just see what is coming.

      Good point too about putting way too much in the very first chapter. I guess they forget they have a whole novel to write and fill up?

      Have a great day. I have not been feeling these past few days, so at home and thought I would see what has been published.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bill, when are you going to put all this excellent information into a book for the likes of me?

      I read your articles and think, "brilliant! I will use this, " then I can't remember where I placed it for safe keeping. Duh...

      You've inspired me to have a go at an idea I've been thinking about for sometime now, I'll never know if I don't give it a go....right?

      My best as always.

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      Joyette Fabien 3 years ago from Dominica

      billybuc, I appreciate this sharing. Your insights are always useful and valuable and it is good that you always share. I am working on my second collection of short stories. I am not quite ready to venture towards the novel yet, but I will keep your tips in mind. Stay Blessed.

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Amen to that; will be thinking of you both!! Ann

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting, Ann; we are doing the same thing this weekend. Bev's study is going to be attacked and rubbish tossed out, and she is looking forward to it. Best wishes to us all as we do war with clutter and "stuff."

      bill

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Yes I do, apart from a hard workout every Wednesday evening, totally exhausting but worth it - I think!

      A weekend of moving furniture about and getting rid of yet more 'rubbish' - might be hard work but it's therapeutic and it'll look a lot better when we've finished. The best bit is that I now have a work area all to myself! How good is that?! Now I must use it for more hubs that are well overdue.

      All the best to you and yours. Ann

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, again you have given my ego a boost. Thank you! I do the same thing with articles, stories and novels...let it sit awhile and then go back to it...like you said, there is some rubbish that is not obvious the first read-through.

      Wednesday is upon us and the weekend looms....looking forward to rest and relaxation and I hope you do the same.

      bill

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      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      I find that whatever I'm writing, I leave it at least a day before I go back to proof-read and then another couple of days to read again. Otherwise, I read what I think is there, what was in my head at the time. It's surprising what rubbish can be overlooked immediately, so re-visiting can uncover mistakes of all kinds, including glaring errors of continuity!

      I think of it like visiting neighbours; don't go back every hour or so, leave them for a while and you'll have much more to say and appreciate each other more.

      If I can't get into a story in the first couple of paragraphs then I don't want to read any more; that's the first trick. The second is to sustain that quality.

      The superb advice you dish out for us to learn is something I so enjoy. Enjoy your evening, bill. Ann

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, you might have hit the nail on the head with your comment. I think that is very true. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! I appreciate your kind words about my teaching abilities.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Barbara Kay, that's not good when you can't even read your own book. LOL Keep trying; you are a good writer and I know you can do it. As for Rowling, I didn't know that but that is interesting to hear. There are some espionage thrillers where they do that, introduce ten characters in the first two chapters, and they all have foreign names, and I simply cannot follow it.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes we do, Donna, and those blind spots can mean the difference between a mediocre book and a very good one. Thanks for the advice.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's in there breakfastpop; one day it will burst out like that scene from Aliens. :) Thanks for the visit this Wednesday morning.

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      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I think people cram too much in the first few chapters because they have their best ideas then...sort of Peter out towards the end! Shared.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is article is good for a reference guide. I will save it and compare my check my list. You're a great teacher, Bill.

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      Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

      JK Rowling actually made the mistake in her first adult book of introducing so many characters at the beginning that very few people liked the book. After all the success with Harry Potter books I expected something great when I started it, but she loses you after the first chapters. You just don't connect with anybody and it is hard to keep up with so many characters. You are so right on that point.

      I don't think I'll ever write a novel, but thanks for all the advice. I might write a short book, but I started a novel and went back to it later. The thing was so boring that I couldn't even read it.

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      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      Great advice, I have made a few of these mistakes myself. I can't stress how important it is to get help in editing and revising the work of a novel. Get friends in your writing group to help you with content editing. Hire someone to do the copy editing. Other eyes on your work will illuminate your blind spot. (We all have them.)

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      breakfastpop 3 years ago

      Everyone keeps telling me I have a book in me somewhere. I am still looking for it! Thank you for this very sage advice.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Me neither, Sha, but I can definitely see the advantage to them.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well thank you Austin; hope all is well with you; good to see you.

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      I'd rather not use one. As I said, the story writes itself. I really never know what's coming next until it reveals itself to me.

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      Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Excellent advice. I shall endeavor to remember it.