Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 5, 2015

Six Writing Blunders and How Not to Make Them

27 Writing fiction blundersI bought James Scott Bell latest book 27 Fiction Writing Blunders – And How Not To Make Them!  I love James Scott Bell’s books. He never cuts corners, all are full of helpful writing information. I bought my copy on the Kindle, so it only cost me $2.99. If you have an e-reader, buying this book is a no brainer. For those who don’t own an e-reader it is available in paperback for $9.99 on Amazon, which still is a bargain!                  

Sell more books and build your career by kicking these blunders to the curb!

Ever wonder why some books shoot to the top of the bestseller lists? And others that you think should, don’t? It’s usually a matter of mistakes that could have been avoided! #1 bestselling writing coach James Scott Bell has analyzed thousands of manuscripts over the years, by both new and experienced writers, and noticed certain errors that keep showing up to take readers out of the fictive dream. Now he’s tackled the biggest offenders and shows you how to fix them. In 27 Fiction Writing Blunders you’ll learn: * The biggest reason readers get stuck in your opening pages…and how to unstick them * How to avoid marshmallow dialogue * The simple solution for low stakes * The art of getting into and out of flashbacks * Getting rid of the kind of characters that readers never want to see in your novel * The biggest point-of-view gaffe and how to spot it * How to perform liposuction on flabby scenes * The best way to show what characters think and feel And much more! Plus, Bell attacks some of the blunders writers can pull on their own careers, including fear, false competition, market ignorance, and the neglected brain. Don’t let little mistakes keep you from big success. Eliminate these 27 blunders forever…and sell more books! James Scott Bell is an award-winning, bestselling author of numerous thrillers and popular books on the writing craft. Visit his website at “James Scott Bell is my go-to writing teacher!” – Terri Blackstock, New York Times Bestselling Author of Intervention and Vicious Cycle.

Below are six writing blunders and some tips on how to fix them.

1. Don’t bore your readers. Try this: Pause every now and then and think about your plot. Ask yourself what would the reader expect to happen next? What are the stereotypical story tropes that immediately spring to your mind? Maybe you’ve already mapped out your plot and it seems a little predictable. All you have to do is take the most obvious turns and do something different – something opposite.

You can try this with your characters, too.

2. Get rid of exposition and backstory in your opening chapters.

Do yourself a favor and highlight the exposition and backstory in your opening chapters and then cut all of it. Make a copy of the material and put in in a separate document. Then put back only what is necessary. Be ruthless. Readers get into a story by way of characters face challenge, conflict, change, or trouble. If you give them that, they will wait a long time before wanting to know more whys.

Next: See how much of the material you cut can be put back using Dialogue.

3. Avoid marshmallow Dialogue: Dialog without conflict or tension is squishy and sweet. Like a marshmallow.


“Hello, Becky.”

“Hi, Kelly.”

“So, how is everything at home?”

“Oh, you know, the same.”

I do! I totally know about that. It’s like that at my house, too.”



“It’s good to know I am not alone.”

Yes, it is. Awfully good.”

If your reader is not asleep, they are wondering why they are bothering with your story. The reader wants to care – to worry – they want to see it, or at least sense it.

4. Avoid overbearing description. It pulls the reader out of your book. It shows a writer trying too hard – using a rubber hammer to the head instead of a nice, soothing back rub.

One subtle, specific detail is worth a thousand words of generic description. In scene moments of high emotion, for example, look for that one image that evokes the inner life of the character and he essence of the scene.

5. Don’t stress the details during the first draft. Do the best you can, but push through the story. The best time to come up with telling details and just the right image is during revision. Give yourself time to do this. Like Erika Wassall (the New Jersey Farm Scribe) says, “Your manuscripts are worth it.”

6. Taste, smell, and touch are underused sensory details. Every now and then weave one of these onto a page.

Remember less is more, if the less is really sharp. Refrain from adding something when what is already there does the job.

Example: The rain fell outside, hitting the empty trash cans on the side of the house. He felt lonely.

We don’t need the author telling us how the character feels. The description does the job.

Talk Tomorrow,



  1. Lovely tips. Thank you.


  2. Thanks for the nice summary, Kathy! I have several of Bell’s writing craft books; they are all very good.


  3. I’ve just found an excellent new resource in Bell, thanks for the information!


  4. Thank you Kathy, very informative, as always.


  5. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Very Useful Tips – Thanks Kathy 😀


  6. Great advice.


  7. Great tips, thanks!


  8. Thanks, Kathy, for sharing this great information.


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