6) Location (of people and things) – If Mary is at the front door, but she’s suddenly seeing something that’s happening in the bathroom that’s in the back of the house, this is a problem with location. Or reaching for a cup in the cupboard when you’re in the living room. (Yes, these are exaggerated examples, but you get what I mean.) Kate slapping Mary though earlier it was mentioned that John was between Mary and Kate. If you’re in a small wooden ship’s cabin, five or six people and their luggage and pets won’t all actually fit in and be able to move around comfortably in there. Ways around this are to make a map in your mind or even on paper. See where people are and where things are in relation to them to get the actions to make sense. But don’t fall into the trap of explaining every little movement or placement either.
7) Info Dump – Giant blocks of information all dumped at once on the reader. Whether the information is needed or not isn’t normally the trouble. The problem stems on how it’s dumped out in giant buckets disrupting flow and pacing. Info should be seeded in small doses. Broken up by other things so it is integrated with the whole without seemingly being there. Dialogue can help here too, but beware of ‘As You Know, Bob’ syndrome, where you regurgitate info for the reader in a conversation when it is actually something already known to the other party and would never actually need to be said – not good.
8) Beginning/Middle/End – The most basic of rules for a story or novel, yet you’d be surprised how many miss the mark on this one. One main road for the story. In novels you can have some side roads tie to the whole, but the final structure must still have the three stages to make sense.
9) Conflict – Conflict is tenuous and can take many forms, but it is an integral part of any tale. Without conflict (internal, external, or both) there’s no room for the characters to grow or change. There must be stakes, things which can be lost or goals that won’t be achieved if conflict is not overcome.
10) Theme – This one is hard to explain. It’s like a uniting thread or melody within the novel or story. A message behind the words. Sometimes we know what we want it to be before we ever start the work, at others we discover it during the writing itself then make sure to weave it throughout. Themes can give extra depth to the work, even a unique flavor. Not good to force it, but good to have.
Hopefully this illustrates what I am talking about. Never underestimate the work that goes into writing! lol. This stuff is hard! (One of the main reasons I am a BIG backer of beta readers, critique groups, edits, and editors!) Any other bits on what makes writing hard that you’ve come across or wondered about? Do you think I’m full of it? What mistakes do you see being made out there? Would love to hear your thoughts.