Don’t Listen to Me

If you’re a writer, everyone has advice for you. A lot of it is good, but even the good stuff starts to lose its weight after the thirty gajillionth time you hear it. Here are some I (and a select panel of other [better] writers) have heard that are beaten to death and/or wrong:

Write Every Day: Why? Having a routine is great, and it means you’re being productive. But if you have a different writing schedule, who the hell cares? And not enough focus is on quality. Don’t worry so much about your word count and worry about how good those words are.opinionated

Show, Don’t Tell: Just… stop saying this. Writers say this like it’s a bloody mantra, usually with some lovely variation of don’t tell me it’s raining, make me feel the drops. Two things here: 1. Everyone knows this. 2. Sometimes it is OK to just say something. It’s called exposition. Do it well, and sometimes it is fine.

Write What You Know: The sheer amount and popularity of paranormal romance and YA dystopia suggests this is not essential. Granted, all those books are exactly the same, so maybe they mean write the same book as someone else, beat for beat. Seriously, though, while, yes, you should know what the hell you’re wiring about, write what you don’t know a little. I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, or an alien, or a black man in the 1940’s, but those aren’t reasons for me to not write about them. (people need to stop writing that YA crap, though)

Write Until Your Story is Done: Do you like football? I like football. We just went into the offseason, so it’s time for everyone to complain about no football for a while. As soon as the season starts, everyone will complain about having to watch the Jags/Browns game. Your book is the same way- people want to read it, but if it drones on forever, they will hate it. So if your clone dystopian YA book is 150,000 words, you need to cut that sucker down. Less is always more when it comes to writing- make your words count.



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