What is the dumbest piece of writing advice you have ever heard?

Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Masked Mole, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    "Cookie cutter" - there's one I forgot!
     
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  2. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm surprised anyone would have anything bad to say about lesbians. I mean, they're like bacon or Bill Murray. Everyone loves them.

    Or so I thought. I guess I was wrong.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    For me I'd say the dumbest oft repeated advice is 'show don't tell' as though writing is that black and white ... a book which was 100% showing would be deeply deeply tiresome

    And the dumbest piece of crtique I recieved was that there was too much bad language and violence... in a story about mercenaries fighting in the belgian congo
     
  4. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    You do realise that listing phrases you don't like next to an insult doesn't automatically make them wrong?
     
  5. MachineGryphon

    MachineGryphon Member

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    "The Americanisms annoyed me, can you edit them?"

    Wanted to smash my head into the table when I heard that one. I admit that they do tend to creep into my work due to 90% of the media I consume being American, but to say I was frustrated with that one was an understatement. The fact I used the word "Elevator" instead of "Lift" apparently irritated this person so much that my entire piece was unreadable...haha.

    I also second "Write what you know". Certainly I have taken inspiration from what's around me, but I don't think many people want to read about a little town in Surrey where nothing ever happens, and a guy who spends too long on his xbox. :D
     
  6. rktho

    rktho Five WIPs are more efficient than one

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    He meant, write it in alien hieroglyphs so no one could read it.
     
  7. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    (paraphrased from Holly Lisle's site)

    "Write, because if you don't, you'll be grounded and will look back years from now and remember a time when you once had wings."

    Did that help me with my writing? No. No, it did not. In fact, it made me feel so anxious and guilt-ridden that I couldn't write.
     
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  8. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Right you are, very good. :-D
     
  9. Masked Mole

    Masked Mole Senior Member

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    I like this one. Have a cookie.
     
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Have you ever tried writing explicitly American characters? My Doctor Who fanfic has characters who speak in British accents and others who speak American, and I learned a lot about BrE vs AmE by writing lists of which characters would use which vocabulary.
     
  11. Kingtype

    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    I don't see why you can write for yourself and the market or both if you happen upon some free time. Of course like @BayView said you might just be more inclined to a more mass appeal style. Stephen King, based on interviews and On Writing, always seemed to just do writing for the love of it and just ran with any idea in his head.

    But, I think you should probably do both....ya know?

    I don't think writing for yourself in the pure sense means that you're writing really unreadable, unedited, and super crazy prose. I think it just means try focusing on something you love or that interests you and make something good from that. If you wanna be a commercial writer (which is not bad at all). You should somehow write for yourself that way or close to it, right? Some kinda healthy mixture. Listen to your critique partners, agent, editors and all. Be willing to change and mingle with the writing for yourself. Don't be stubborn. Be an artist first and then have your inner businessman and editor break the artist's fingers.

    Of course, this all depends on what you want to achieve.

    I like to think, though it doesn't gotta be all or nothing. Write something you'd enjoy at least or will have fun doing.
     
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  12. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Yes, it's the false dichotomy that's irritating: the assertion that writing can EITHER be 'art' and be something you love OR be 'churned out' for stupid readers who want sparkly vampires and nothing original or with literary merit. It's nonsense.
     
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  13. izzybot

    izzybot Oportet Vivere Contributor

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    I think the worst / most damaging thing that's been impressed upon me is that if you like what you're writing, you must be doing it wrong. True Artists(tm) have to think their work is crap. Only amateurs ever think they're any good.
     
  14. Apollypopping

    Apollypopping Member

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    I cant imagine not liking what I write. I try to stay commercial, sure, but I like what I do.
     
  15. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Same here. I even re-read my old fanfic works sometimes and enjoy them!
     
  16. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Member

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    With all due respect, I can't imagine that. Reading even my best work from just a few years before I started writing my current book just makes me cringe. You must be a fabulous fanfic author.
     
  17. Apollypopping

    Apollypopping Member

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    I reread some of mine and die inside. There's some good lines in the muck there though.
     
  18. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    Aw man. This hurts.

    Me at 8: I want to be a writer when I grow up.

    Dad: You need to do something that's not wasteful.
     
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  19. Skye Walker

    Skye Walker Active Member

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    When I'm writing it, it's shit. When I look back at it two weeks later, it's not shit anymore. I've gone to look at things I wrote when I was 13 and thought "I knew the meaning of that word? Good job, me."
     
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  20. Apollypopping

    Apollypopping Member

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    My parents, especially my mum, had the same philosophy. It sucked.

    We all have to find our own way :)
     
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  21. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    I liked it to give you a like, but I don't like it.
     
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  22. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I don't know about fabulous, but I was for sure one of the more popular writers for my ship - mostly, I think because I got in at the every beginning when fans were starved for stories with that particular pairing. My writing was fairly rudimentary at first but definitely got better as I went along. I still get a fair a amount of email notifications from fanfiction.net and AO3 and it tickles me that people are still enjoying my fanfics even though the show and pairing went completely down the shitter. Sure, I head-hopped like crazy and had a lot of bad habits that my editor eventually had to beat out of me, but when I go back to read my old fanfics I focus more on how much I loved writing those stories and the great reception I received even as a baby author. It may have all gone to hell in the end, but it was one of the best times of my life and I still have amazing friends from those days even though our former fandom is basically gone.

    It probably also bears mentioning that I was almost 40 years old when I started writing fanfic, so I had many years of reading material that I personally enjoyed under my belt to emulate.
     
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  23. Apollypopping

    Apollypopping Member

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    Me too!

    Its been four years.

    'I really hope you finish this!'

    Probably not, I'm sorry.
     
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  24. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I didn't leave any WIPs out there, but sometimes I get "I hope you write a sequel!"

    My usual response is "That won't be happening, but here's an Amazon link to my original fiction if you'd like to read more of my work." :D
     
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  25. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man

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    Actually, your book is on my 'to-read' list for 2017.
     
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