4 Bad Writing Advice Newbie Writers Should Ignore at All Costs

By | April 7, 2023

If you happen to be a writer, or willing to become one of the best writers across the internet — you should consider reading more about the 4 Bad Writing Advice Newbie Writers Should Ignore at All Costs

As a newbie writer, you can find a ton of writing advice on the internet that is essentially bad advice – and in some cases – counterproductive.

In other words – not every piece of writing advice is necessarily helpful, which is why we have jotted down four bad writing advice that certainly will not help you in your book writing process.

Read on to learn more!

Bad Advice #1 – Avoid the Exposition

A common advice that many newbie writers hear is about expedition as they are told that expedition is the enemy. It is said that writers shouldn’t spend their time giving the readers information about the character’s backstories – or explaining any background context about their situation, also known as exposition.

The usual argument is that the reader is smart enough to figure it out on their own and you should just keep going with the story. The thing is that as a writer, you really don’t want to spoon feed everything to your readers and your readers should be able to figure out certain things as the story progresses.

With that said, some amount of backstory is mandatory for the readers to get oriented within the story and for them to get a clear picture of the novel’s world, the characters, and the conflict – what is at stake in the story.

This aspect is especially true for the critical first pages of the book. In the absence of an exposition, it will certainly be very challenging for the reader to get grounded in the story and for them to even get hooked to continue reading until the last page.

Without an exposition, you might lose them before you even begin – if you don’t give them some sense of who the characters are – where they are and what the context of the situation is.

Effective exposition is all about setting a delicate balance and giving the reader enough information to feel situated in the story and follow the action of the plot but not to the extent that you end up taking them out of the story for prolonged periods of time.

You do not want to provide pages after pages of exposition. The exposition should ideally be woven throughout the main narrative and integrated organically so that it becomes a natural part of your story. 

Bad Advice #2 – Opt for Literary Writing

Another bad piece of advice that you will want to avoid at all costs is the advice for aiming for literary writing. Other than poetry – have you ever read a paragraph that is dense with imagery and poetic vocabulary that is difficult to interpret?

It is easy to tell when a writer tries hard to elevate their writing and make it sound more literary. It is important to mention here that literary writing is not by any means necessarily better than common writing.

With that said, trying too hard to make your writing sound more literary can turn into something known as “purple prose.”

Purple prose is prose that is overly verbose or ornate language that does no good to the reader but obscures the meaning of what is trying to be conveyed. This kind of language will also become immediately distracting to the reader.

So, if this is your first time working on your book, you will want to let your writing take whatever style feels natural and organic to you. You should always work to improve your writing, including grammar, way of expression, formatting, etc., for which you will want to use one of the best proofreading software available on the internet.

Nonetheless, you shouldn’t feel the need to fit a specific mold or categorize your writing style as literary.

Bad Advice #3 – Skip the Prologue

There is a lot of debate within the writer’s community about whether or not to include a prologue. Usually, editors and publication houses don’t have an issue with well-done prologues. Usually, they never express that there is some kind of ban on prologues or consider them as unacceptable.

You will need to understand that for some novels, a well-crafted prologue can actually be quite effective – especially – when you are writing thrillers or historical fiction and teasing some of the plot action that is to come later on.

Nonetheless, as with any scene in your novel, if the prologue is poorly executed – it will be distracting to the reader, which is why you should not include a prologue only for the sake of it. If you find yourself wanting to include a prologue, and you feel like a specific scene could hook the reader’s interest right at the beginning of the story – don’t think that it is off-limits at all.

A good prologue can help a lot with framing the story effectively and hooking the reader’s interest to see what is next to come.

Bad Advice #4 – You Need a Villain

Another bad writing advice that many newbie writers get is that they need an antagonist or villain for every story. Now, if you are writing a novel, it might have already been clear to you – even before writing the novel – who the villain of the story is, which is perfectly fine.

However, if you find yourself struggling with figuring out who the villain is and it is not letting you move forward with the writing process, then you should stop worrying about it. The underlying reason is that your story doesn’t necessarily need an antagonist or villain.

You get the point – not every protagonist needs to have an antagonist. As a matter of fact, some of the most compelling stories are the ones where there isn’t a character who is acting out as an antagonist. There doesn’t always have to be the single identifiable person that represents all of the evil and negative energy in your story.

Sometimes there are stories where characters are just grappling with whatever life throws their way and that is perfectly valid and that can be just as captivating as a story that has a clear antagonist. For instance, the best-seller – The Fault in Our Stars – doesn’t have a clear villain character as the characters in the novel are really grappling with the threat of cancer and death.

So, if your story doesn’t have a villain character – don’t worry – it might not need one in the first place.

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