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When it comes to advice about writing fiction, just about the only thing you can guarantee is that if you ask 100 writers how to do something, you'll get at least 101 answers.

Most folks like to help other people, and when we try to point writers in (what we see as) the right direction, we mean well. The trouble is, some of our nuggets of wisdom are made of fool's gold. In fact, much of the advice you hear thrown about online and at writing groups is, at worst, complete piffle, and at best, completely wrong for you and your situation.

Here are some examples I've heard around the water-cooler at writing group meetings, conferences etc. or read online:

                                                                                

'Never use the passive tense.'

'Never use adverbs.'

'You should self-publish your book.'


'Don't self-publish your book.'

'Getting an agent or publisher is a crapshoot. Just keep sending out query letters. Sooner or later, you'll get one.'

'Post weekly chapters of your book online.'

'You don't need to bother with an agent these days.'

'Don't waste your time writing short stories. There's no money/future in them.'

'Avoid clichés like the plague.'


Okay, that last one's worth bearing in mind, but the others depend on your individual situation. 

As writers, we're always looking to improve, especially when we first start out, but when it comes to advice, take it all with a pinch of salt, and remember my old gran's wisdomous words: 'Advice and opinions are like spouses and children, they should be embraced or ignored at the individual's discretion.' 



How about you?

What was the worst writing advice you ever got?



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Comments

tracy_d74
Oct. 19th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
It's not advice I received, but advice I recently heard on a video about writng. The person told the audience, presumably YA writers that ALL YA books are written in first person and ALL MG books are written in 3rd person. He said that if you write a YA book in 3rd person, no one would want it...editors wouldn't know what to do with it. REALLY? REALLY?
jongibbs
Oct. 19th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's intentional, but some people confuse what they believe to be correct at that particular time in their writing career with being the real deal.

Edited at 2011-10-19 07:01 pm (UTC)

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

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