They tend to write from the vantage point of their computers without thinking about the very human person savoring every word.
Let’s look at what I call the 7 Deadly Sins that Writers Commit:
As a reader when I’m engrossed in a book, I want to see the worldview from a clear vantage point. If I’m reading in one character’s mind, I don’t want to shift into another character’s mind without some warning. When authors do this, they violate the point-of-view. Sometimes it’s a simple mistake, just one little lapse. But, that lapse takes me, the reader, out of the world the author created. It’s okay to show different points-of-view with chapter breaks or with section breaks, but not from one sentence to the next!
When authors talk about cell phones in books set in the 1990’s or vice versa act as if their characters know nothing about texting in the present-day, that is a deadly sin. We, authors, must research our time and recognize that our readers will know if you make a mistake.
Sometimes we authors know the story so well, we forget that we left out an important piece of information. That information links events or people. One of the hardest thing for authors to do is read their work as if for the first time. In fact, it’s quite impossible. The best way to avoid this deadly sin is to ask other people to read your work.
Some readers will forgive the occasional grammatical error, particularly if it’s a typo. Readers know how hard it is to catch every last thing. If, however, your book is full of errors, either typos or grammatical mishaps, your readers will not forgive you.
Your first page should begin in the action in the present time. Not in the past. If past events cause the current action (which is ultimately often the case), then you must sprinkle in the events a little at a time. Overwhelming the reader with past history (anywhere in the book) is definitely a no-no.
Authors whose characters are too controlled tend to produce wooden or stereotypical characters. When our characters surprise us, do things we didn’t expect, that’s when characterization becomes real. If you hold onto your characters too tightly, your readers will recognize it and decide your characters are forced, not real.
My gosh! How many talented authors commit this sin? Donna Tart did so in Goldfinch. Her mistake was going on and on and on with information that was unnecessary. As a reader I was skimming. It’s important for the author to end the book quickly but in a satisfying way that ties everything up. If you leave questions unanswered or events unresolved, you’d better have a sequel planned. Otherwise your readers will kiss your work good-bye.
Those are my 7 Deadly Sins Writers Commit. What are some of yours?