Tag Archives: grammatical errors

5 Ways Not to Start Your Novel

The opening pages of a novel are extremely important. They’re what readers see first, and if they’re good, they’ll catch readers’ attention and draw them into the story. However, if they don’t catch readers’ attention, then the rest of your novel will go unread. With having dedicated so much time to your work, you want readers to finish, and then recommend, your writing.

Here are five things your opening pages should not have:

  1. dog-and-hydrantSpelling or grammatical errors. If readers see typos, awkward sentence structures, etc. on the first pages of a work, they’re more likely to assume that the work is amateur, poorly written, and/or that the details haven’t been fleshed out. Perhaps the rest of the novel doesn’t have any grammatical errors, but if there are errors on the opening pages, readers will make negative assumptions about the rest of the work and will be less likely to continue reading it.
  2. sunny_days_3_by_kokoshadow-d2xwxjlWeather. This is a clichéd opening. At one point in history (see Victorian literature), opening a story with a description of the weather worked because it was new. Nowadays, weather has been so overdone as an opening that it doesn’t attract readers. Not to mention that a winding description of the weather isn’t a huge attention grabber in its own right.
  3. a53Rise and shine. There is nothing exciting about reading about how a character wakes up in the morning, goes through his morning routine, and thinks about all the things he has to do that day. The morning wake-up routine as a story opening will makes readers want to hit their own snooze buttons.
  4. gI_64173_flying dreamDreams. It’s fine to have a short dream sequence(s) within your novel, but not as your opening. When readers start a novel, they want to be grounded in the reality of the world. They believe that what they’re reading is the core information they’ll need throughout the story. They don’t want to get sucked into the first few pages only to realize that everything they’ve read was a dream. That feels like a lie and a trick.
  5. Too-much-distractionsDistractions from the main theme(s). The beginning of a piece of work should incorporate the main theme(s) of the novel. Readers should have a good idea of where the novel is going after they’ve read the opening. If readers are left confused, focused on lesser themes or idle dialogue, or overwhelmed with an information dump, that’s not good.What about you? 

What about you? Are there any types of opening scenes that make you shut a book?

(Photos courtesy of TheGoodMenProjectkokoShadow, TheJewishLady, PRWeb, and ManishKapoor.)

Why Are Bad Books Published?

You’ve seen a book everywhere. It’s been recommended to you multiple times. It seems everyone is raving about it. Then, you read it. And it’s poorly written, has tons of plot holes, and has grammatical errors.

You ask yourself how this book got published. Why did it get published? You’ve read a ton of other books that are much better written, but haven’t reached the wild success this poorly written one has.

The publishing industry is littered with bad books. However, what makes a book good or bad is subjective. People have different expectations and tastes. A book I may love, you may consider one of the worst books of all time. Or vice versa.

I tend to be more critical of works than many of my friends. A big part of that is because I’m a writer, as well as a reader. I notice grammatical errors, structural problems, and character development issues to a much greater extent than my friends. While I have a tendency to nitpick, they just want a good story.

It’s very similar to how a few of my friends are singers. They’ll finish a song and will frown, saying they sounded horrible. To me – someone who loves listening to singing, but only sings when I have the apartment to myself – they sounded great. I didn’t notice the nuances they did.

Something else to look at is how well a book sells. It could be completely shallow and clichéd, but if it’s hitting the top of the bestseller charts, then the quality of the writing doesn’t matter so much. (I know, tough pill to swallow.) I’m sure we can all think of at least a few books that were poorly written, but were wildly successful.

So, then what do we do as writers? Well, we write the best book we can. And we support our fellow writers. Being a reader is one thing. You can blast as many books as you like, but when you become a writer, you shouldn’t shoot down other authors. Now, I’m not saying lie and proclaim you love a book that you actually threw across your room and left to collect dust. Tell the truth, but watch how you phrase things. It’s like being in a critique group. You are giving criticism, but you’re doing so in such a way it’s constructive, and, at the same time, you’re saying what you liked about the novel as well as what you didn’t.

In today’s publishing world, it’s all about making estimations on which book will make the most money. As writers, we can only write what stories speak to us, so instead of tearing down other authors’ novels, let’s work hard and work together. Writing can be a lonely endeavor. Let’s make it a little less so.