Most writers hate to appear as an amateur, how do you know that your write-ups are amateurish?

However, there are several signs that every writer must be aware of, in order to avoid writing like an amateur.

Today, we will be discussing about the 10 warning signs of amateurish writing and how to avoid them.

Below are the ten warning signs.

  • Excessive punctuation
  • Showing off your knowledge
  • Poor pacing
  • Unnecessary word choice
  • Identical characters
  • Head-hopping (Unintentionally)
  • Opening every character the same way
  • Unnecessary scene
  • Imbalanced dialogue
  • Unrealistic character actions
  1. EXCESSIVE PUNCTUATIONS
    This refers to sentences that end with two or more !, ?, or worse, ?!. But it also refers to the frequent usage of exclamation point. Limit your exclamation usage to 2 every 50k words. Never use “!!”, “!?”, nor “??”.
  2. While writing a children’s book, you don’t need an exclamation for narration.
  3. SHOWING OFF YOUR KNOWLEDGE
    A lot of writing requires research. Once you’ve done the research, it only makes sense to share what you’ve learned with the reader, right? No. You have to be conscious of blatantly sharing information. For example: say you had to research women’s roles during WWII America. You could write, “Many women started working in factories after the men went to war.”
    Or, you could relate the information to the story: “Minnie started working at the factory down by the shipyard. Just a couple weeks later, Jane and Pearl joined her.”
    Be subtle in how you relay information, especially historical fact. Your reader is always smarter than you expect.
  4. POOR PACING
    Pacing is one of the most difficult sides of technical writing to master. But it can be learnt, and it’s worth it.
    Fast pacing is when the scene seems to move quickly, like a chase or fight scene. Slow pacing is, you guessed it, slow; like a heartfelt scene.
    But it can be messed up by using a fast or slow pace at the wrong time, and your readers will either get overwhelmed by the speed, or bored by the gradual pulling along. Pacing may seem out of control, but you have more power over it than you might think.
    Quick words and short sentences make fast pacing. While longer words, more punctuation, and lengthy paragraphs tend to slow the writing. Neither are “bad.”
    You can change it based on the context: if you’re writing a fight scene, stick to fast pacing. but if it’s a romantic scene, slow pacing should do the trick.
  5. UNNECESSARY WORD CHOICE
    Unnecessary word choice can be divided into two parts;
    i. Using of filler words like was, that and so.
    ii. Using out-of-place words to make your writing “more intelligent,” especially if you are using a thesaurus. Don’t use big words that make you seem smarter. The best writers can get their points across using the simplest terms. Be mindful of filler words, especially while editing.
  6. IDENTICAL CHARACTERS
    Most readers loves a variety, entertaining cast of characters. And to pull it off, they can’t be duplicates of one another.
    Take the time to develop your main characters through character questionnaires and writing exercises. What can also help is to practice writing scenes from the underdeveloped character’s point of view.

We’ve been able to discuss five of the warning signs of amateurish writing, next week we shall pick up from here.


If you find it hard to comprehend what has been discussed above, you can drop your questions in the comment box. We are for you.

Let’s rewrite the narratives in Africa’s Literary space together.

See you next week.

To your writing success,

Your favourite literary and publishing company,

Pison Books.

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