Major Writing Mistakes by Genre

As an editor, I read a lot of manuscripts. As in, I would need an army of yellow minions to carry the stack of them. While each manuscript is different, I have noticed a trend of one major mistake that writers make for each genre. Without further ado, here is my list of mistakes per genre.


This problem is unique to fantasy series. If I had five bucks for every time I saw this happen, I would have more money than Queen Bey. What is the issue? Nothing happens in the first book. It is as if Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ended when Hagrid told Harry that he is a wizard. If you are writing a fantasy novel, make sure you don’t just have exposition. Actually make sure there is a stand-alone plot in there. This is especially true if you want to traditionally publish your book. Publishing houses are really hesitant to commit to a whole series from a new writer. 


The biggest problem I encounter in romance manuscripts is that the male’s perspective is completely unrealistic. If you are writing a romance novel (or any novel for that matter), make sure you get a beta reader of the opposite sex to review it to make sure it is realistic.

Young Adult

So often the story is told from an adult’s perspective. This is usually characterized by preachy tirades or thoughts that aren’t realistic for a teenager. Again, getting a teen to read your book would be of great service to you. Also, ask yourself: “Would I have thought this in high school?” 


There is tons of telling and not showing. Just because you are telling someone about your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t paint a scene. Include dialogue. Describe the room. Have conflict and tension. It will make your story come alive to your readers.


Self-help tends to be riddled with jargon. Constantly ask yourself: “Would my readers know what this mean? Would these be the words they would use?” If you ask yourself those questions, you will decrease the odds of your reader putting book down because she doesn’t know what you are talking about. 

This is obviously not a comprehensive list, but it is the most common issues I see. Would you like me to fix the major problem (and more) in your manuscript? I am happy to help! Just make sure you tip my minion when he comes for your manuscript. His arms are tired. 

Leave a Reply