What it Means When Someone Tries to Tell You THE Rules of Good Writing (link)

by Charlie Jane Anders

There’s only one rule for how to write a story, and that’s: “Write a good story.” Apart from that, anything goes, as long as you can pull it off. (And some things are harder to pull off than others.) But sometimes, people will try and teach you ironclad rules of fiction writing. Like, avoid an omniscient narrator, or introduce your main character on the first page.

Link: http://io9.com/5978762/what-it-means-when-someone-tries-to-tell-you-the-rules-of-good-writing


Great advice about how to view writing advice cast in the form of writing rules.

  1. These are rules that work for this person, and they might work for you, too. (What I like to call the “What works for me” statement presented in the form of a rule.)
  2. This person is writing in a particular genre where these things are accepted conventions.
  3. This person knows that some writers can break these rules and prosper — but has decided that you’re not one of those writers.

Wiki version



8 Urban Myths to Squelch During Story Critiques (link)

8 Urban Myths to Squelch During Story Critiques at http://writingnovelsthatsell.com

Some good critique advice (pretty much falling into my main “critique critique” — Remember, you’re helping them write their story, not writing your version of it.):

  1. This idea has been written before.
  2. Editors hate prologues.
  3. One-sentence paragraphs are grammatically incorrect and should never be used.
  4. I don’t like to wait for character information to be revealed. I want you to write important traits, like hair color and age, as soon as you introduce that character.
  5. I don’t like the word scarlet. Why can’t you just say what you mean and use red?
  6. I hate (talking animals) (vampires) (suicide bombers) (New Age rhetoric) etc. Delete that nonsense from your book.
  7. Your writing is too purple.
  8. You’ll never get this story published

Well worth reading the details at: 8 Urban Myths to Squelch During Story Critiques at http://writingnovelsthatsell.com

Wiki Version

Final (major) edit pass of “Death Rides for Free” done

I’ve finished up my final (major) edit pass of “Death Rides for Free” and am busily putting the edits in to the doc. I normally do my edits on a hard copy so as to compartmentalize my working environments. I use the word processor primarily for the “barf” phase, then edit on hard copy in the “polish” phase in order to avoid the temptation to edit / wordsmith during the barf phase. After a slash-and-burn rampage with the red pen (which is misleading, as I tend to write bare-bones and then augment and add far more than I remove during an edit pass) I type it all in.

Writers’ group report

Yesterday evening I had the second reading of “The Alchemist of Liberty” at the writers’ group that I frequent. It went over a bit better than the first part (see my rant from last week), which is not too surprising given its more intense action sequences and introduction of a plethora of new terms (which I have been working on cleaning up). The main critique was to more on the characters and not be so relentless in my introduction of new things, which is, of course, a good suggestion as compelling characterization will usually pull you through the rough spots.

One interesting suggestion to come out of yesterday’s reading was that I should try writing it up as a movie script and sell it to Hollywood as the SFX wizards could do better justice to its visuals. This is not the first time that I have been told, in not so many words, that my writing has a cinematic quality to it. On the other hand, I can’t help but think this is polite way of saying that I should give up on trying to describe complex and/or exotic situations and events. I will politely ignore that, if it is the actual intent of the comment, and continue on trying to describe said exotic complexities.

This does bring to mind one fond wish of mine, which is to have Matt Howarth illustrate a graphic novel based one of my stories. How is that for pie in the sky?