Here is the 31st installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at http://1writeway.com and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at http://johnwhowell.com. These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.
10. When writing a novel, do not try to explain to anyone what you are doing. If you do, at best they will walk away shaking their head. At worst, you might find yourself as a recipient of an intervention by well-meaning friends and family which you didn’t know was being filmed until you see it on Dr. Phil.
9. When writing a novel, do not assume everyone in the world is waiting for it to be finished. If you do, at best you may get used to the sound of crickets when it’s done. At worst, people might start avoiding you on purpose without trying to hide the fact that they are.
8. When writing a novel, do not ask your spouse to read parts and provide an opinion on how they like it. If you do, at best you might end up in an argument over whether you really only used your imagination in writing those sex scenes. At worst, you both might end up paying a lot of money to a divorce lawyer.
7. When writing a novel, do not ask your children to be quiet while you write. If you do, at best they will make even more noise and you will have to find a way to soundproof your room. At worst, you might just be investigated by child protective services at the request of neighbors who are tired of the screaming and crying (mainly from you).
6. When writing a novel, do not think you need a rest by playing a video game or knitting the sleeve of a sweater. If you do, at best you’ll lose your focus on your plot. At worst, you will finish the sweater and reach the god level in the game, but never finish the book.
5. When writing a novel, do not try to make a decision on whether you should plan the book or just write it. If you do, at best you may get stalled on starting the novel and have to adjust your publication deadline. At worst, you may end up having an argument with yourself and end up not on speaking terms, which would totally blow your deadline.
4. When writing a novel, do not keep your own counsel on word usage or grammar. If you do, at best you may get lucky and have only a few mistakes. At worst, you will need to leave town and change your name to avoid the laughter from your peers.
3. When writing a novel, do not do your own editing. If you do, at best you may be surprised by the number of problems in your book. At worst, you may want to book a trip to a country with no extradition treaty with the US.
2. When writing a novel, do not avoid rich characterizations. If you do, at best you will have a book filled with pounds of boring material that not even you will want to read. At worst, you will need to find a decent disguise when meeting other authors and readers to avoid being called out by your characterizations of them.
1. When writing a novel, do not skimp on the plot thinking your literary style will pull you through. If you do, at best you might have a book you love, but no one else does. At worst, you might win the Worst Literary Book of the Year Award in recognition of your achievement.