Mistakes Writing

7 Most Common Mistakes When Writing a Book

By on July 23, 2013 . Category Writing Challenges

While every writer has his own style, many writers make similar mistakes when writing their first book. The great thing about mistakes is that they can be corrected, but before you can correct those errors, you must acknowledge that you have made them. Here are seven of the most common mistakes writers make when writing a book:

1. Bad Grammar

Bad Grammar can ruin a book. Your novel should always be grammatically correct with correct verb tenses, proper subject, and by removing unnecessary words. Say only what needs to be said, and say it correctly. If “slang” terms are used due to a character’s culture, this is okay.

2. Bad Dialogues

Writing dialogue is a learned skill. You can have a great story, but the way your characters tell that story must flow in chronological order. Brush up on dialogue etiquette by reading books and taking courses pertaining to mastering dialogue.

3. Lists

Lists may work for your outline, but you should never make lists in your novel. Amateur writers want to describe the scenery and emotions with a list, rather than letting the character’s sight, thoughts, and other senses describe the scenery or their feelings. Do not force anything on your readers, which is what a list does.

4. To Tell, Instead of Show

A common mistake is to tell, instead of show. You do not need to tell the audience that a character is cruel; instead, the actions of that character should describe his characteristics.

5. Talking Heads

Stay away from talking heads. So many writers bring a character into the picture without a fair warning. Readers cannot invest in a character – or her dialogue – unless they know whom that character is. Always make the character’s presence known before she speaks, so you do not confuse your audience.

6. Imagery

Imagery is everything in a novel. Ideally, the reader is able to imagine everything you are describing and they become immersed in the story. Some amateur writers struggle with creating scenes that their readers can visualize when they do not paint the picture with words effectively. Readers want to immerse themselves into an author’s literary work and if they do not feel immersed, they may put the book down.

7. Point of View

The most common mistake writer’s make is when writing point of view (POV). An amateur writer typically makes the mistake of allowing each character to narrate the story. You can write from multiple viewpoints, but you should not try this method unless you are a skilled writer.


Luckily, these kinds of mistakes are common and can be improved with practice and study. At some point and time, every writer has fallen victim to at least one of these errors. By taking literature and creative writing classes and reading regularly, you can hone your writing skills and become a better writer in no time.


  • Wirral Writer

    As a writer myself, I found this article very interesting and informative. It is one that all writers should constantly refer to.

  • Wayne Hicks

    An excellent post! These are some of the basics that every writer should know and master!


    these are helpful and will empower me improving my career

  • Malvis

    Thank you so much for this information. It has really guided me as an amateur writer. I will be careful not to make such mistakes again.

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