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

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

  1. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Active Member

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    I think they were in college, so how old they were depends on where they were. (In Britain, college is 16-18, in America I think it's 18-21, if anyone knows better, feel free to correct me.) I think people that age should have some sort of grip on the horrors of war. My favourite TV show was a kids' cartoon about a war, and while there was a clear villain, it was explored in a lot of complexity, and is enjoyed by adults as well as children.

    And yes, the article did mention sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction.
     
  2. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole... Contributor

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    I think it depends on the writer. My biggest problem in my writing is letting go enough to write. I also do not write in large spurts only 1000-2000 words at a time. I have a clear vision of what happens in my plot as I mentally go over it smoothing it out until I am satisfied. Almost like an in-mind movie production. :D

    Letting go, was my biggest wall when it came to writing. I was being so much of a perfectionist that I ended up stifling not only my characters but myself as well. Once I just wrote it, then I could find the plot holes or other flaws that need to be corrected. So now I just menta myself there write. Is this method for everyone? No not all, however for those who clearly envision but want to write perfection first time around, this is good advice until you can find a groove that works for you.

    @minstrel I can see where you're coming as it sounds chaotic.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    Nope - in Britain 6th form (yr12 and 13) is 16 to 18 which can be part of school or an FE college... College proper as in 'going to college', is the university years which are generally 18 -21
     
  4. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Not necessarily- I did 11-16, then went to college, then university.
     
  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    As I said 12/13 can be done at an FE college or at school ... but college in general is part of university (as with oxford, cambridge, london etc where the university is made up of multiple colleges)
     
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  6. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Funny thing is that I went to college in Cambridge... then university in Cambridge... Cambridge tends to have separate sixth form colleges.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    indeed but if you went to cambridge university you'll have been at college at the time ...e.g kings, christs, trinity etc.

    I did my A levels at an FE college too - but I didnt think of myself as being 'at college' at the time
     
  8. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    No, no, no, my mistake. I once made a collage painting for GCSE art. Sorry, I misunderstood the word college.
     
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I think of sixth form as college and university as, well, university. :D
     
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  10. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Odd ;) I thought of it as pub time... free pub time
     
  11. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Active Member

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    I think of college over here as the alternative to sixth form. Last year it was all the teachers talked about. And then, of course, universities being divided up into colleges. I'm British, so it's America I needed clarification on.
     
  12. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    Having suffered the third season of Veronica Mars, I assumed college was a hideous hotbed of racial and gender politics that bore no relation to the rest of the civilised world. I assumed the US was 20 years behind the times. I was subsequently proved correct.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I tell you story, yes...:P Contributor

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    Dumbest piece of advice...Does claiming to be the worst writer count? :supergrin:

    Wait no, that would be writing something just because it is popular in
    the moment. In 10 years after you chased that pop-theme/genres and it
    dies out, then what?

    I think that the worst piece of advice would be to tell someone to write
    in a genre that is not one they prefer. Trends come and go, and those that
    chase after trends tend to tell shit stories.

    But what do I know, as my favorite authors are dead. :supersmile:
     
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  14. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've been in rare form the last couple posts I've read from you. I don't know you well enough to know whether you're deliberately trying to be an ass or whether it's accidental, so I thought I'd mention it. If it's accidental, it seems like something you'd want to know. (The other post was in the thread where Daniel offers to promote people's books.)
     
  15. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I would call it drink induced. But apologies.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't drink and post, dude! Sober people are reading...
     
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  17. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Active Member

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    And now he's banned...
     
  18. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I tell you story, yes...:P Contributor

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    That is a tale of woe. :(
     
  19. EstherMayRose

    EstherMayRose Active Member

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    I always liked Weekend Pinky.
     
  20. Tophert79

    Tophert79 Banned

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    The advice wasn't given to me personally, but it's a piece of advice that I once read on here and I found it laughable. I can't remember the advice verbatim, but I'll give it a go:

    "There are two basic elements to the romance genre: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

    This advice literally made me shudder. I don't remember who coined it, but I'm guessing that we would not get on.
     
  21. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Romance Writers of America?
     
  22. Tophert79

    Tophert79 Banned

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    OK. I forgot to elaborate on how I think that this is such bad advice.

    It's just so corny, it's akin to saying that "If you're going to write a love story then you must go straight to the end and write 'And they live happily ever after". It's not true. Love stories can be anything you want it to be. It can be dark, disturbing, Gothic, unpleasant and even depressing. Certain people will tell you what's right and what's wrong and what you should and shouldn't do, but if the story is written with an authenticity and a truthfulness, that is all that matters. Pigeon holes are for pigeons, not for art.
     
  23. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay, I'll give you one post's worth of my time. That's all.

    "Love Story" is not a synonym for "Genre Romance". Like most genres, Romance is essentially a marketing tool, a way of telling readers roughly what they can expect from the novel. If someone buys something marketed as a Murder Mystery, they expect there to be a murder, probably some detection, and a crime that's solved. If someone buys something marketed as High Fantasy, they're going to expect magic and epic battles and all that stuff. If someone buys something marketed as a Romance, they're going to expect the story to revolve around a romantic relationship and end in a happy way. That's what the genre is.

    A "love story" isn't part of the Romance genre. I don't even really know what "love story" means - it sounds like it's a story that revolves around a romantic relationship but doesn't necessarily have a happy ending. Great. Nobody is trying to stop anyone from writing love stories. There are lots of successful authors writing books like this. Nicholas Sparks comes to mind, but I'm sure there are others.

    So, no, I'm guessing love stories can't be anything you want them to be - if someone wrote a story with no romantic relationship and tried to call it a love story, I assume you'd object. Not to the writing itself - again, people can write whatever the hell they want to and it's no one else's business. But you'd object, I assume, to the inaccurate label. The story doesn't match the criteria of "love story" so it shouldn't be sold as such. Misleading the reader isn't cool.

    Now, romances can be dark, disturbing, Gothic, and unpleasant for most of the story, too. Romance is a huge and diverse genre. But in order to fit the label, there needs to be an optimistic ending. That's what the label means.

    If you have a black and white cat, it shouldn't be sold as a Dalmatian. It's probably a very nice cat, but it's not a dog.
     
  24. Tophert79

    Tophert79 Banned

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    Thanks.
     
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  25. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wait... Is Erich Segal's Love Story classified as romance? Or is it like The Fault in Our Stars which would be like a contemporary realistic YA or some such even though it's about two people falling in love?

    I never even realized an optimistic ending would be a requirement in the romance genre, but I guess it makes sense now that I think about it.
     
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