When beginning writing, many authors place much emphasis on having the ability to write the greatest 'prose', that they often forget to reveal a good story. The ordinary reader is more likely to read an ordinarily worded page-turner, than a perfectly composed story that lacks substance. Here are 4 ways that authors often fail when writing their first stories.
1. A 'try-hard' effect. Just as we remember from the school yard, there was always the person who was trying too hard to be accepted, or too hard to become liked, that they wound up being the opposite. Its the same for writers. People try too damn hard to get it right and it finishes up sounding forced and unnatural.
2. Hanging the carrot. One of the first things you learn when writing is that you plan to keep your readers hooked. Unfortunately, some people can take this too far and finish up pushing away their readers by withholding excessive information. Readers read for pleasure. If they wanted a mind-bender they would buy the cryptic crossword! It's fine to leave a little unknown, but don't withhold that much information that it becomes an effort to follow the storyline.
3. Jumping from scene to scene. It is essential in order to get your plot structure straight before writing your final draft as things need to flow in a systematic order. Sometimes, when caught up in writing, it is easy to forget other factors that are going on in the story, and get write scene after scene which sometimes don't link or make good sense.
4. Cramming the first chapter. Beginning writers are trying so hard to capture attention that they throw all their devices away in the first chapter. The first chapter often contains their best writing, introduces their greatest characters, hints at the best hooks, inserts the most ideal humor, and describes the most suitable settings. It sets the rest of the book up to fail. Learn to pace these things out, and place your best bits strategically throughout the novel to hold the reader's interest.
So relax, and take note of these four tips, and watch your writing develop into a natural and unique style.