Please, Don’t Do These In Your Novels
Writing a novel? Here are five things we implore you to avoid:
- Launching into a lengthy background. Engaging in too much background exposition makes stories drag, often slowing it to a crawl. As much as possible, avoid detailing backgrounds in the first chapter to start the book off at a good pace. When introducing background anywhere else, do it in a direct and straightforward way to get it over with quickly.
- Interrupting dialogue. Some writers fall in love with cutting off their characters’ dialogue mid-sentence, ending it with ellipses, instead of completing what they’re saying. While the interrupted dialogue can make the pace feel faster, it dirties up the narrative. It’s a nice technique to use once in a while, but prose works best when characters finish speaking as much as they can.
- Opening the book by describing the weather. Some writers use descriptions of weather and environment to set an atmosphere for the book. Problem is, no one wants to read about the weather. More often than not, readers will skip the description and look for the first instance of a character appearing.
- Getting creative with verbs and adverbs to introduce dialogue. There’s no need to use any word other than “said” when attributing dialogue to a character. While using “growled,” “screamed,” “cautioned” and similar terms may seem creative, it’s unnecessary. In fact, it can lead to confusion with some readers.
- Take too much space describing places and things. Describing scenes and objects bring the action into a standstill. Unless you’re exceptionally good at it, keep it to a minimum.