Learning from other writers’ mistakes

Learning from other writers' mistakes

We can sometimes learn more from someone else’s mistakes than from our own. Author Cat Lumb dissects a traditionally published novel and points out where it goes wrong—a great list of what not to do in your own novel.


I recently completed reading a novel that I, personally, thought had a number of flaws – both in general structure and, on occasion, the writing itself. The story premise was interesting – I bought it based on the intriguing blurb on the back and a quick scan of the first three pages. However, as I read it I became disappointed. In fact, the first time I tried to read it I had to put it down with a grimace because it wasn’t at all what I expected and I felt cheated. But, I returned to it over the last week or so and ploughed my way through the manuscript which, fortunately, did get better and – once focused on the central characters – had a good story behind it.

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I’m not going to name this novel, nor am I going to review it in the traditional sense. What I am going to do is list what I have learned from this author’s approach and how it might help me become a better writer. There were a number of things that really grated on me whilst reading the book, and I figure if I as a reader disliked these, then I, as a writer, should make sure that I am not guilty of them in my own manuscript.

So, here goes:

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One thought on “Learning from other writers’ mistakes”

  1. Thanks Candace. I had not been to her website. Wonderful insight and I love her vintage background picture. So cool! Thanks for sharing her with us!

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