[Epub] ↠ The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes Author Jack M. Bickham – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes When You Write Fiction, You March Onto A Minefield This Book Gives You A Map Oh, What Tricky Terrain You Re Traveling You Must Reckon With Character, Conflict, Point Of View, Dialogue, Editors, Editors, And Editors, Who By Returning Stories They See As Problem Plagued Can Burst Your Hopes Of Publication Where Are The Problems Editors Rarely Take The Time To Map Them Out, So Jack Bickham Has In This Book, He Spotlights The Most Common Fiction Writing Land Mines Writing Mistakes That Can Turn Even Dynamite Story Ideas Into Slush Pile Rejects And He Guides You In Overcoming Them In To The Point Style, He Shows You How To Conquer Procrastination And Put Ink On Paper Regularly Dump Wimpy Characters And Build Characters Ready To Act Look For Trouble And Create Conflicts For Your Characters Cut Coincidence And Put Better Than Life Logic Into Fiction Escape The Fog And Find And Stick To Your Story S Direction Free Feelings And Fire Your Fiction With Passion And Emotion In Short, Bickham Helps You Take A Giant Step Toward Publication Read This Book Strengthen Your Writing And Start Setting Off Explosions Where They Belong On The Sales Charts

10 thoughts on “The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes

  1. says:

    Some excellent ideas and some I disagree with Worth trying for beginning writers.I ve edited quotations for brevity.TWO IDEAS I LIKE 1 Character Actions page 104 Characters should do things for what they see as good reasons and that will achieve their ends Don t have characters do things just because you, the author, want them to Personally, I do not like the following which I have seen too often.1 a character lies which does not fit his motivations.2 heroine stupidity I m happy to re Some excellent ideas and some I disagree with Worth trying for beginning writers.I ve edited quotations for brevity.TWO IDEAS I LIKE 1 Character Actions page 104 Characters should do things for what they see as good reasons and that will achieve their ends Don t have characters do things just because you, the author, want them to Personally, I do not like the following which I have seen too often.1 a character lies which does not fit his motivations.2 heroine stupidity I m happy to read about a flawed or stupid heroine, but don t make a rational heroine do something illogical.2 Too Much Pondering page 66 Scenes peaks represent the high points of excitement and conflict Sequels valleys are quieter times when conflict is not on stage when the character has time to feel emotion, reflect on recent developments, and plan ahead Your character reacts to the disaster that just took placethen plans what he is going to do next Scenes move swiftly sequels move slowly If your story feels slow, you may need to expand your scenes and cut or shorten sequels page 22 Don t write about wimps It isn t interesting, watching somebody sit in his easy chair and ponder things Your character has to be a person capable of action He doesn t have to be a super hero He may be active refuse to give up or stop trying yet still be scared or unsure of himself pages 14 15 Don t do long descriptions Fiction is movement Any description stops movement Characters thoughts and feelings are descriptions Descriptions of the character s state of mind and emotion should be brief The accomplished writer will tell describe a little, and demonstrate show in action a lot SEVEN IDEAS I QUESTION OR DISAGREE WITH 1 Disasters pages 62 and 104 Bickham says every scene chapter must end in a disaster I disagree Bickham defines disaster as Whatever your viewpoint character wants he must not get at the end of the scene For if he does, he has suddenly become happystory tension relaxesthe reader goes to sleepand your story has failed Most of your chapters must end with developments that hook the reader with a new twist, disaster or realization that defies the reader to quit at that point Personally, hooks don t keep me reading I read for specific periods of time and often stop in the middle of a chapter like when I m on the treadmill, when I m in a waiting room, or when I m on the train I don t need hooks Sometimes I don t want hooks I look at the book as a whole Things will be solved at the end That keeps me reading.I don t like requiring authors to jump through hoops to create hooks when it doesn t fit the flow Scenes have natural endings Some of them end with here s what I need to do next, or I ve just met a new person.2 Adjectives and Adverbs page 59 Bickham discourages the use of adjectives and adverbs Most experts agree with him The thinking is don t use an adverb to help a weak verb Use a stronger verb That sounds reasonable to me, but I think too many experts go overboard in their ostracism of adverbs J.K Rowling uses tons of adverbs in the Harry Potter books And her books are the most successful fiction books in the world Following are some wonderful adverb examples from the first Harry Potter book eyed them angrily whispering excitedly acting oddly today said as casually as he could appeared so suddenly and silently And for those of you who may argue that certain genres lend themselves to adverbs, please note that John Grisham also uses them liberally in his legal thrillers Grisham is another top selling author Examples from Grisham s book The Client slowly looked at Ricky he exhaled calmly Mark carefully picked a cigarette from his shirt pocket Mark suddenly remembered He mumbled loudly One author who writes about cutting adverbs wrote the following sentence in her novel Mary awaited his visits with the utmost impatience This is clunky I prefer Mary impatiently awaited his visits Some editors say adverbs are like spices, use a little not a lot They would probably consider Rowling and Grisham as too many The bigger question is who should define good writing english dept academics and the experts they educate or all the people who buy the book Personally I love the way Rowling and Grisham write.I think the rule should be write the first word that comes to your mind Then when you reread, evaluate the adverbs Remove them if they are not helpful, if they are redundant, or if you find something better But don t remove them because Big Brother says.3 Tough Guys page 97 Bickham discourages having a tough guy gal because it represents a false pose The character denies all impulse at the delicate or the soft by being over tough, over cynical, over gruff, or over bitter I wish Bickham would have shown examples I would probably agree if he was talking about the cartoon villain tying the damsel to the railroad tracks But one of my favorite characters is tough guy Jack Reacher by Lee Child He s a top selling author Tough guys are not always bad.4 Check Facts.I know some readers want facts, figures, and historical accuracy in their fiction Therefore, I reluctantly accept Bickham s recommendation to fact check everything But personally I don t care I want to be entertained And if the author makes things up I m fine with it In fact, sometimes made up things arefun than existing things I m not reading fiction for an education That s what encyclopedias are for I recall a contemporary suspense book with a stealth helicopter that made no noise The heroine was alerted to its presence by wind chimes I thought the wind chimes alert was so cool Even though those helicopters probably don t exist.5 Outlines Rule, Don t Deviate With A Muse page 69 Bickham wants writers to create an outline and not deviate Beware of late blooming ideas that seem to come from nowhere during your writing of the project I think this depends on the author In my opinion, if you are moved, let the muse take you Worry about logic and plot later You can cut creative bursts later maybe use them for something else It s lack of creativity that hurts most books.Stephen King never plans a plot He thinks of a situation, puts characters into it, and then watches the characters try to work themselves out of it Most of the time the outcome is something he never expected He says I plot as little as possible Plotting and the spontaneity of real creation are not compatible from his book On Writing 6 Don t Use Real People in Your Story page 18 Bickman says they are dull Your idea for a character may begin with a real person, but to make him vivid enough for your readers to believe in him, you have to exaggerate tremendously, you have to make him practically a monster for readers to see even his dimmest outlines I don t have an opinion on this But I do know that using real life people worked well for Stephen King His first hit novel Carrie was based on two girls he knew the two loneliest most reviled girls in his high school class One of them had an overly religious mother Steve combined the two girls into Carrie and used the religious mother as Carrie s mother And yes he exaggerated the characters in his book Steve might be an exception, but he is a top selling author.7 Point of View pages 34 and 35 In a novel, there may be several viewpoints, but one must clearly dominate It s a fatal error to let your viewpoint jump around from character to character, with no viewpoint clearly dominating Figure out whose story it is Get inside that character and stay there My thoughts follow.A I usually do not like stories that are told from one viewpoint For example, a bad guy enters a home and kidnaps a child The main character detective is told that the child was kidnaped and takes action to solve the case Because I was never in the bad guy s head or the child s head, I never saw how it happened, I never had a feeling about the bad guy, and I never experienced the child s fear or trauma So I like multiple viewpoints, which Bickham allows but discourages.B In the novel Carrie, no one is the main viewpoint character The reader is in the minds of many different characters throughout the book It worked I liked watching the thoughts and feelings of various characters But this was an exception and may not be the best advice for others.SEVEN MORE IDEAS I LIKE 1 Start your story with a threat change.2 Fiction must belogical than real life 3 Be obvious, not subtle.4 Don t write in slang where you drop letters and use apostrophes.5 pages 29 and 104 Avoid excessive luck or coincidence Fix it so the character has the desired experience by trying, rather than by luck Reading about someone blundering along, getting lucky, is neither interesting nor inspiring.6 Once you introduce a character, like a doorman saying something, use the doorman later to do other things It s better to have fewer characters The same applies to events If you have a car accident, try to do other things relating to it For example someone has an injury Someone else saw the accident and does something as a result.7 page 104 The ending of the book must answer the question you posed at the outset clearly and unequivocally My thoughts I ve read too many books with unsatisfying endings because they were incomplete or too abrupt I love epilogues.DATA Story length 117 pages Swearing and sexual content none Copyright 1992 Genre nonfiction

  2. says:

    Bickham is well aware that there cannot be a one size fits all approach to advice on writing, but he does seem aggressive in his presentation that there is a formula left somewhat nebulous to the craft What is most disappointing is his absolute insistence that readers are stupid, lazy, and need to be spoon fed every little bit of information, whereas published authors and editors are definitionally masters of the craft and the only voices an unpublished, aspiring author should consider wort Bickham is well aware that there cannot be a one size fits all approach to advice on writing, but he does seem aggressive in his presentation that there is a formula left somewhat nebulous to the craft What is most disappointing is his absolute insistence that readers are stupid, lazy, and need to be spoon fed every little bit of information, whereas published authors and editors are definitionally masters of the craft and the only voices an unpublished, aspiring author should consider worthy of his or her time If this is not how Professor Bickham feels, then he needs to make a few revisions to this work, because it is clearly what he wrote At the same time, he attacks the academic interpretation of literature and a small, possibly imagined cadre of authors who claim that they don t have a formula for writing I would say that about ten of his mistakes are arguably not mistakes at all not even artistic choices , but rather an expression of a man who is too used to writing formula fiction and motivating students to produce easily digestible text every week Maybe six of the sections have meaningful insight The rest kind of do what most books on writing seem to do, which is to reinforce that writers need to write if they want to be writers, and that the story must be coherent in order for it to mean anything to the reader

  3. says:

    I ve heard the content elsewhere except, Don t Take it to the Writer s Club Meeting This advice I have long suspected and intend to act on I greatly admire Bickham, but this book is getting somewhat dated The advice is still sound, but most of it is covered in, Scene and Structure.

  4. says:

    The only thing that bothered me was tip 30, which goes way overboard telling authors not to seek out or consider feedback from anyone other than professionals Of course, he s entitled to his opinion, but every writer I know including myself has improved tremendously through the input of a healthy mix of people family and friends, target audience, critique groups, and partnerships with other authors, published or otherwise.Working alongside and receiving feedback from fellow writers at any The only thing that bothered me was tip 30, which goes way overboard telling authors not to seek out or consider feedback from anyone other than professionals Of course, he s entitled to his opinion, but every writer I know including myself has improved tremendously through the input of a healthy mix of people family and friends, target audience, critique groups, and partnerships with other authors, published or otherwise.Working alongside and receiving feedback from fellow writers at any stage of the game is one of the biggest joys of writing for me Hell, I probably wouldn t be doing it at all if I closed myself off to everyone but the professionals he suggests.But as with all writing advice, you take what makes sense for you on a personal level and discard what doesn t So this one still deserves a good rating there s a lot of useful stuff here

  5. says:

    I agree with several of the author s common sense based rules avoid using too much profanity, don t show off when your write but some things he calls mistakes simply aren t Funny how he tells us not to assume our reader is dumb and then goes on to emphasize the importance of making things over the top obvious or else our reader won t get it No, just because Charles Dickens was a master at creating larger than life, exaggerated characters, this does not mean we should all strive to do th I agree with several of the author s common sense based rules avoid using too much profanity, don t show off when your write but some things he calls mistakes simply aren t Funny how he tells us not to assume our reader is dumb and then goes on to emphasize the importance of making things over the top obvious or else our reader won t get it No, just because Charles Dickens was a master at creating larger than life, exaggerated characters, this does not mean we should all strive to do the same A little subtlety can be just fine

  6. says:

    This book gives pieces of advise on how to write a fiction like Twilight, not something great which adds to civilization like Crime and Punishment And it s weirdly so much like Wired for Story Telling, but the last one was much better told, though from the same pop commercial culture

  7. says:

    One of the first books I ever purchased on writing alongside Writing the Breakout Novel is this one.Don t describe sunsets, don t waste your plot ideas, don t worry what mother will think and don t just sit there When I read this book I find myself thinking many things That s a huge no no I often spot in other people s writingand my own That s a worry I have that I should really smother Why have I forgotten about this vital element I need to put that in Most of all, I learn a lot One of the first books I ever purchased on writing alongside Writing the Breakout Novel is this one.Don t describe sunsets, don t waste your plot ideas, don t worry what mother will think and don t just sit there When I read this book I find myself thinking many things That s a huge no no I often spot in other people s writingand my own That s a worry I have that I should really smother Why have I forgotten about this vital element I need to put that in Most of all, I learn a lot.This book brings to light 38 common mistakes when writing fiction There are so many books on writing that bring up what to do when trying to write good stuff but they often skim what not to do This is where this book comes in handy It s a slim thing but it s full of valuable points and thoughts.This is a book that makes you think I promise it will not make your eyes glaze over It is definitely worth reading as it highlights a lot of points other books may be light on.Don t fret too much over what not to do, however Remember, the important thing to do is to write This is a great book to come back to when you are looking to edit your fiction, maybe not so much when you are on the first draft and worrying about whether you are doing everything right From my blog, Quill Caf

  8. says:

    Reading this made me think, are most English students or aspiring writers in America just that bad or is it something else A lot of these mistakes are simply due to lack of common sense, or even just simple observance of author s writing style books read in their lifetimes, and even magazine articles about author s bios lives Anyone can actually already learn so much from those but apparently not But then again, this does outline the 38 most common fiction writing mistakes which makes m Reading this made me think, are most English students or aspiring writers in America just that bad or is it something else A lot of these mistakes are simply due to lack of common sense, or even just simple observance of author s writing style books read in their lifetimes, and even magazine articles about author s bios lives Anyone can actually already learn so much from those but apparently not But then again, this does outline the 38 most common fiction writing mistakes which makes me shudder, because if those are the mistakes most commonly made, and those are the people privileged enough to study writing and live in a country where companies are always looking for new writers, whether in ebook or printed formatwell This book only started giving useful advice around the late 20s of the list Don t get me wrong, the book is quite useful if not a bit repetitive in the explanations but it scares me to think that this was a sample of the talent pool of people who could potentially make a career out of writing, since they have the circumstances of being in a developed country that produces tons of books a year on their side

  9. says:

    I didn t agree with everything this guy had to say, but through a lot of the book he was talking right to me It encouraged me to keep going, helped me to recognized some mistakes I ve been making, and told me how to fix a lot of them I m sure I ll go back and read it again when my writing has taken a plummet.

  10. says:

    I liked that this book kept things simple and easy to digest Each mistake had a short chapter to itself, with explanations and examples There were some useful things that I already knew, but that this highlighted for example, he emphasised using conflict change to drive a story, and not letting characters be weak Lo and behold, what is the problem with a couple of my original characters They aren t necessary because they don t change or act for most of the story, but simply go with the fl I liked that this book kept things simple and easy to digest Each mistake had a short chapter to itself, with explanations and examples There were some useful things that I already knew, but that this highlighted for example, he emphasised using conflict change to drive a story, and not letting characters be weak Lo and behold, what is the problem with a couple of my original characters They aren t necessary because they don t change or act for most of the story, but simply go with the flow For those who know Epidemic verse Niamh, I am looking at you Unfortunately, I really hated the tone of it I felt very much as if the author was secretly saying, Here I am, up on my pedestal, and now all you little amateurs must sit and listen, because I am better than you Really.He also alienated me by being just plain wrong He gave the rosy fingers of dawn as an example of the kind of purple prose writers who are in love with their own writing fall prey to The rosy fingers of dawn is, of course, an epithet used in the epics of Homer and occasionally, Virgil s Aeneid And that, of course, is not only work in translation anyway, but work from an oral tradition in which epithets were an expected and necessary part of the narrative.Pah

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