Writing Every Which Way

Novels, poems, and writing tips

How to Not Look Like an Amateur Author

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I’ve mentioned in other posts that it’s easy to be stereotyped as an amateur author. Here are some tips to avoid being one.

1. One-Word Titles

I mentioned in my post Titling Your Writing that one-word titles are the stamp of a beginner. . . Beginner is just another word for amateur.

One-word titles show minimal meaning to your writing. Authors use them to sum up the main idea of their novel  instead of putting the effort into something that really connects the readers to the writing.

If you avoid the one-word curse you’ll be one step away from looking like an amateur!

2. Dramatic Book Covers

We’ve all seen the cheap romance novels at Giant Eagle with beautiful people holding hands and caressing each other. . .

Don’t they just look so cheasy? As soon as you see that cover you’ll know the book was written by a lustful stay at home mom with nothing better to do.

That’s just flat out gross!

I know that when it comes to publishing companies they don’t always give you the best choices for covers. If you’re self publishing, though, hire an artist to actually get the job done well. Avoid having people on your cover at all unless you have an excellent reason.

3. Describing Character’s Appearances Too Much

As mentioned in Creating Realistic Characters, we don’t give a crap about what your characters look like! Readers don’t need to know the precise location of a birthmark so don’t tell them.

You could obviously do much worse things to  get an amateur reputation, but just stay clear of the possibility.

The best way to describe your characters is to broadly describe them. Use words such as beautiful, large, stunning, and so on. I’ll assume you get the jist.

Don’t over describe anything, much less character’s appearances.

4. Acting Like a Scene is More Important Than it is

When you’re just beginning to write, you’re usually very excited to write specific scenes. These scenes are usually the first ideas you have about the story so they appear important to you. Say your characters have a heated conversation that you put a crap load of work into writing. You were so excited that now your characters act like that was the most important thing ever and they must refer to it every couple seconds. Meanwhile, the world is being taken over by aliens and a war is breaking out. Do you really think that your characters should be that concerned about their little squabble?

Nope!

Just because you’re excited to write a scene, doesn’t mean it’s going to be an important one. Sorry.

5. Mimicking Plots and Characters

There’s no originality to writing these days. Every single plot is exactly the same and you rarely stumble across a unique character.

If you’re looking to appear original, be wary of the characters and plot you come up with. Study them before you begin writing to be sure that they aren’t something you stole from another story.

You’ll get a lot of heat from readers if they catch onto the story your mimicking and that never ends well. ‘Advice’ can be brutal.

As someone who was once an amateur writer, trust me when I say I know how to avoid being one. Sure, I’m not perfect now, but I’ve grown enough to see my former mistakes.

Hopefully you can, too!

Best of luck!

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Author: Madi Uram

I'm just another young writer hoping to get noticed in the world of publication. The majority of my time is put into writing novels, but I'm no stranger to journalism, playwriting, and critical essay's, too. I'm also the author of "The Little Paragons" which can be found on Amazon.com.

2 thoughts on “How to Not Look Like an Amateur Author

  1. You make some excellent points, but there is one thing I’d like to point out. The first point you make about “one-word titles being the stamp of a beginner” isn’t really accurate. There are a lot of famous books out their with one-word titles: 1984, Hamlet, Dracula, Holes, Carrie, and Mockingjay; just to name a few. One-word titles may not be all that exciting but they aren’t a sign of being a beginner or an amateur.
    Now I do like the points you make about over-writing an unimportant scene, and leaving the characters appearance as broad as possible for the reader. These help the reader focus on more important points of the story they would otherwise miss.
    Anyways, it was an interesting read and I look forward to reading more from you in the future. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Like

    • I definitely agree with the point you make! As I always say, I love being proved wrong if I can learn from it. Also, thank you for your approvals and politeness!
      I very much agree that excellent books have been written with one-word titles. The point I was attempting to make, though, was in reference to titles that are too vague and don’t connect to the book very well (I imagine you’ve seen books titles as such). If you read my other post, “Titling Your Writing”, you’ll see that I agree that some one-words work well! Just not always. Sometimes it’s safer to stay clear.
      Thank you very much for your polite reply and happy reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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