42 Common Mistakes Novelists Make by Paula Berinstein

By Paula Berinstein

Tale advisor and Writing exhibit host Paula B. offers an annotated record of forty two universal errors she sees for all time. Divided into characters, constitution, reader engagement, the industry, and mechanics, the thing bargains every little thing from the Tease--the author who will get readers all excited yet does not persist with via, to the Bleeding Heart--the author who will not "murder his darlings."

About 7000 phrases.

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Then we'll wonder whether and how the protagonist will prevail. 16. The Mustache Twirler. Your antagonist is one-dimensional. Your antagonist needs to be just as deep and capable of stirring our sympathy as your protagonist. It's one thing to hate a cartoon villain. It's quite another to feel moments of sympathy for the devil. The character of Londo Mollari in the television show "Babylon 5" is one of my favorite examples of the complex villain. At first, Londo is selfish, arrogant, and vain. But later he develops sympathy for his enemy, the Narn G'Kar, and against the wishes of his imperialist government, helps G'Kar escape from captivity.

Remember, every story is told by a narrator, who may or may not be the same person as a viewpoint character. The narrator tells the story, but we see events through the eyes of the viewpoint character. If you're writing in third person limited point of view, be consistent about who your viewpoint character is within a scene. Do not "head hop," that is, switch from one character's point of view to another's. It's okay to vary your viewpoint character from scene to scene and chapter to chapter, but if you jump around within a section, the effect will be jarring.

For example, here is the winner of the 2011 Edward Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels: Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories. Ouch! 39. The Randomizer. You capitalize capriciously. When I see words capitalized willy-nilly, I always wonder what possessed the writer to emphasize that particular word.

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