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?
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!