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3 Mistakes You Are Making In Your Novel That Are Boring Your Reader

Keeping your reader in your story

By Elise L. BlakePublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024
3 Mistakes You Are Making In Your Novel That Are Boring Your Reader
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

The last thing you want a reader to be when experiencing the world of your novel is to be bored to tears. 

This leads to them either returning your book for their money back, placing it on the shelf never being touched again, or it being donated so that maybe someone else will find enjoyment in it. 

Our job as writers is to entertain our readers, if they wanted to be bored they could go read their old high school textbooks. 

Here are three common mistakes that writers make that bore readers right out of the story. 

Lack of Conflict or Tension

If your story has no stakes, why would your reader care if your character makes it to the end?

Oh, they get a detention? What's the big deal? It won't ruin their life - unless they are one detention away from getting expelled or that one demerit will keep them from being accepted to their choice college. 

Without conflict or consequences, it's just a boring story of things that happen. 

This doesn't mean that your story has to be high tension with danger lurking around every corner for your protagonist, but there has to be some sort of conflict - either internal or external - that keeps readers emotionally invested in the outcome of your story. 

Info Dumping 

Yes, your characters may need certain information to understand the world of your story. What they don't need is all of it at once spanning ten pages in lecture format.

There's no need for excessive description or having one character monologue all of the information about the intricacies of your story for an entire chapter.

Information necessary to the store should be given to readers in a way that doesn't disrupt the pacing of the story. 

Instead of overloading your reader try to dish out information gradually and only when it is relevant to the plot or character development. 

Telling, More Than Showing 

Show, don't tell is dumb advice because it places the idea into new writer's heads that they can never tell the reader anything when the true answer is in finding the balance between when to show and when to tell. 

This is most often seen in the example of emotions. 

You should never tell your reader that your characters are angry or sad, but it should be seen in the way they carry themselves, in the actions they do, and in the thoughts that they have (if narration style allows it) 

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No author wants to be known as the one with the book with the most DNFs on Goodreads. 

Take the time to avoid these three common mistakes, lack of conflict, info dumping, and telling your reader what you should be showing and you'll be on your way to writing an engaging book your readers won't be able to put down. 

Best of luck! 

With love, 

B. xo xo

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About the Creator

Elise L. Blake

Elise is a full-time writing coach and novelist. She is a recent college graduate from Southern New Hampshire University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing.

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Comments (17)

  • Brenda Fluharty2 months ago

    Congratulation. Thanks for the great tips.

  • Esala Gunathilake2 months ago

    Congratulations !

  • Abdul Qayyum2 months ago

    Congrats on your Top Story!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on your Top Story!

  • The Dani Writer2 months ago

    My goodness gracious this was written so well! The perfect balance of "Not destroying your book-writing dreams" with "No pussy-footing around cuz you need it straight-no-chaser or readers WON'T like your book and you'll be clueless as to why." Excellent, EXCELLENT piece and I'm so glad you were featured!

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Info dumping was my first problem. In hindsight, by writing it out first, that background information was always in my mind and I could use it when I needed. I just had to not leave it in the final draft. I found the microfiction challenges helped me think succinctly and write economically. I found it a good excercise.

  • S. A. Crawford2 months ago

    These are great tips and they definitely apply to most of the books I haven't finished!

  • Amy Black2 months ago

    Thank you! This is fantastic advice! I needed a crafting tip today! I've been pondering this lately, and you answered an unspoken question I've had for a bit. ;)

  • Natasha Collazo2 months ago

    I will close a book if there’s too much info dumping 😆

  • Rosie𐙚2 months ago

    Great advice! As a newbie I am definitely taking these on.

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Great advice, really well explained.

  • Three very important points. Congrats on Top Story!

  • Good read. Another one is to make your characters relatable by giving them dialog. All too often I see stories that are completely narrative without any character dialog. Dialog coming from your character helps your reader to feel like they personally know your characters.

  • This couldn't have come in a perfect time, since I'm working on planning a little something right now. Definitely keeping this is my back pocket.

  • Mark Graham2 months ago

    Love the rule 'Show don't tell.' I am a book reviewer of all books including textbooks, but when reviewing picture books I like it when the pictures show and tell the story.

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    Excellent advice!

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Thanks for this story which has lots of good advice for writers.

Elise L. BlakeWritten by Elise L. Blake

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