Developmental Editor Survey Says

3 min read

What are the most repeated mistakes that most writers make om creating their stories? Well, most of the ones listed below are universally agreed upon by surveyed developmental editors worldwide. Yes, we have all heard these phrases most of our writing careers but they do bear repeating because we all fall into these bad habits at one time or another. Of course, when you are first starting out you will probably get hit with all of them and more. The only true way to become a great story teller is to continually and consistently write, learn and repeat.

Telling instead of showing. This is one of the most common mistakes that writers make. When you tell, you’re simply summarizing what happened. When you show, you’re letting the reader experience the event through the senses. For example, instead of telling the reader that the character was angry, you could show them by describing how their face flushed, their fists clenched, and they started to shout.

Unclear or underdeveloped characters. Readers need to be able to connect with your characters in order to care about them. Make sure your characters are well-developed, with clear motivations and goals. They should also be consistent in their behavior.

Plot holes and inconsistencies. Make sure your plot is airtight and that there are no inconsistencies in your story. This means paying attention to things like character motivation, timeline, and setting.

Passive voice. The passive voice is weak and can make your writing sound boring. Instead, use the active voice whenever possible.

Overly descriptive writing. Too much description can bog down your story and make it difficult to read. Be selective about the details you include and make sure they’re relevant to the story.

Stilted dialogue. Dialogue should sound natural and believable. Avoid using clichés and unnatural-sounding phrases.

Unnecessary exposition. Exposition is information that’s necessary for the reader to understand the story, but it should be introduced smoothly and seamlessly. Avoid infodumps, which are long passages of exposition that interrupt the flow of the story.

Unsatisfying endings. The ending of your story is just as important as the beginning. Make sure your ending is satisfying and leaves the reader wanting more.

Grammar and spelling errors. A polished piece of fiction should be free of grammar and spelling errors. Take the time to proofread your work before you submit it.

Self-indulgent writing. Don’t write a story just for yourself. Write a story that you think other people will enjoy reading.

These are just a few of the most common mistakes that writers make when creating their fiction stories. By avoiding these mistakes, you can improve your writing and create stories that readers will love.

Here are some additional tips for avoiding these mistakes

Read widely and critically. Pay attention to the writing of other authors and learn from their strengths and weaknesses.

Get feedback from beta readers. Ask friends, family, or other writers to read your work and give you honest feedback.

Take a writing class or workshop. This can help you learn the basics of fiction writing and get feedback from experienced editors and writers.

Practice, practice, practice! The more you write, the better you’ll become at avoiding these mistakes.

Please, do not be discouraged in your writing journey. It is a learning process. And for those who have published and live, work or have a writing group somewhere in the North Florida area we hope you will subscribe to our newsletter and submit your information and interview questions be be featured in the next post!


I am a retired medical office worker who sold everything, bought an old RV and began traveling around the state of Florida with her mother and youngest daughter. My mother has since passed and I work on my books, blogs and websites in the rural quiet of Suwannee County Florida.

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