When I was first starting out as an author, I was amazed at how quickly other authors could tell that I was new. It was almost as if my manuscripts all had a bright yellow sticky note attached to the front, with ‘INEXPERIENCED’ written across it in bold, red ink.
But the truth is, it wasn’t just other authors. Nearly all readers could tell I was inexperienced by the time they’d finished my first chapter. More importantly, nearly all readers can tell if any author is inexperienced by the time they’ve finished your first chapter; they’ve developed a sense of what constitutes good and bad writing over a lifetime of reading novels, and as a result they can form judgments just as quickly as a professional critic. They usually can’t (or won’t) tell you exactly what’s wrong, but they still notice something amiss.
Below are ten signs that can tip…
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