Mistakes of a New Author
Years ago when I got my first job as a technician, I remember eagerly fixing all the computers that came in for repairs until there was none left.
I got all my work finished so early that I had nothing to do, and it was still morning. So I just sat listening to the radio, waiting for more work to come.
Sometime later the boss came looking for one of her employees. When I said he already left on a job, she asked me what I was working on.
Being new and naive to the whole “you work for me” thing, I told her that I had finished all my work and I was just listening to the radio.
I can’t begin to describe the disbelief that seeped onto her face.
The whole concept of an employee telling an employer there was nothing to do was so foreign to her that she stuttered the next command, which of course basically meant get to work.
Everybody makes the “new guy” mistakes when embarking on something new in life, whether it is telling the employer at work you have nothing to do, telling the teacher at school the real reason why your homework was not done, telling a big lie in marriage (because the little ones are ok, right…), or picking up the soap in prison.
And it’s no different when writing.
One trap that new authors always seem to fall for was called vehicles, where a character would either gaze into a mirror, or sit in a vehicle gazing at all the various shrubs passing by, and just think about recent events and life in general and so forth.
Now being the awesome new author that I am, I was proud to note that I didn’t do that.
But then a couple of days later while working on my novel, I started writing about a character on a horse driven cart, gazing at the shrubs and thinking about his past.
My fingers instantly stopped. I couldn’t believe it, I almost fell for it, I almost fell for the same trap that I was so proud about avoiding.
Bottom line, don’t do that, period.
It’s just not interesting. Sure, it’s good to express the thoughts of a character, but only on a need to know basis.
If you’re going to bring up some memories or regrets, it better be related to the current situation and during the scene that made it relevant. Otherwise, readers may not get to the good part.
So what do you think about the mistakes of the new author? Let me know in the comments. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to read Dirk the Juggernaut , this month’s trailer of my latest book, King Larsen.
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