Monday, November 1, 2010

Best Writing Advice

Happy Monday!

November has arrived and what better way to start the month then with some writing advice.

1. Tell, don't show.
2. Your characters should each only house one emotion for the duration of your novel. More than that is overkill.
3. If your story takes place in Iowa, chuck it. It most likely sucks (uh... ahem... wait a minute. Some of mine do!)
4. Always give a detailed description of all characters within the first chapter of your novel.
5. While writing always have a cupcake nearby. The scent of frosting peaks the imagination, therefore leaving you with one incredible tale in your hands... I'm talking #1 best seller folks. No joke. (my mothers, brothers, friends, moms, sisters, cousins, son had it happen.)

Note: For those who didn't catch it. This would be bad advice. The best writing advice I have is... to NOT follow the 'advice' I just gave you.

So what's some of the worst writing advice you've received or heard?

70 comments:

Christine Danek said...

Funny. At first I thought --what? That's not right. THanks for the smile.

Matthew Rush said...

LOL. Best advice I ever heard is "just write."

Cheree said...

Ooh, great advice. I especially liked the "have a cupcake near", that's my favourite.

Christina Lee said...

heh heh. Plus, if you give tons of backstory on the first page, everyone will know your story so much better ;--)

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Wish you’d said that earlier; I’ve just deleted my first novel because it was based in Iowa.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Jessica Bell said...

haha! Cute! :o) If you read my blog today you'll see!

Renae said...

Loved this! I don't know about bad advice, but the best advice I've had is to write what you love!

salarsenッ said...

OMGosh, you stumped me with #2 at first. I think my forehead knotted. LOL. I don't know what the worst advice I've been given is. Can't think of it, right now. Best advice is to be true to yourself and listen to your gut. ";-)

Diana Mieczan said...

The cupcake advice it very good:)...I need to get a few today:) hahaha
Happy Monday,sweetie
Hope you had a lovely and fun Halloween weekend

Bee said...

Haha. When I read #1 I almost choked. Ah, you make me feel good :D

Francine said...

Hi,

Hee hee: big tease!

Best advice: take all amateur writing advice with sparing sprinkle of salt, and avoid expert "published author" advice because it's intended to put you off writing for life and lessens the competition. ;)

best
F

Wendy Paine Miller said...

You really don't need to know a thing about your characters. You meet one, you've met them all.
;)
~ Wendy

Lynn said...

Teehee! Sometimes I kind of wish these were true!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ha!

I HAD someone tell me I HAD to get rid of all my "hads" in my story. Apparently it's a bad word or something. LOL

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Hmm. I think 'just write' was some good advice I had. Also, not being scared to write the scene in the way I know I should. Sometimes I stop short. Thankfully my CP's call me on it. :)

Melissa Gill said...

Great advice. I'm glag my MS takes place in Kansas.

Joanne said...

Okay, I always like this one. Write what you know. It does bring a deeper layer to the words when we do this.

NiaRaie said...

I won't lie. I didn't catch the joke until #2. I was like, "Keep the same emot--ohhhhh. Wow."

Diane said...

The cupcake advice might be a keeper... :O)

N. R. Williams said...

I was getting worried Jen. The worse comment, not truly advise, I've ever heard was from a former critique group member when she told someone, "I would never buy your book." Even after I warned her, I'm the moderator, she continued to say that to almost everyone. She isn't in critique anymore.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Em-Musing said...

Someone once told me if I wasn't published, maybe I should give up writing. I quickly told them that if they weren't rich yet, perhaps they should quit working. Needless to say, I now only share my writing life with other writers. They nderstand.

Laura Marcella said...

LOL, funny!

Just read Em-Musing's comment and I love her response to that person! Very clever. I'm tucking that zinger away for future reference if I ever need it!

Teenage Bride said...

hahaha thanks Jen after the morning I have had I certaimnly could use the laugh

Sondrae Bennett said...

I actually thought the cupcake advice WAS serious. I always write better with snacks around. Although I will admit, rarely something messy like a cupcake.

Angela Felsted said...

Bad advice or not, I still like cupcakes.

Mary said...

Thank goodness -- for a second I thought you totally lost your grip (as opposed to you normally mild loss).
Can I keep the cupcake? Please?

Marieke said...

CUPCAKES!!! :D

:P

Ashley Hasty said...

Write about what you know. I'm a researcher, so basically they were telling me to do more research so I really knew what I was writing about. hahaha

http://ashleyanderic.blogspot.com

Bish Denham said...

LOL! I say make sure there are plenty of confusing flash-backs and write in the omniscient POV.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

And don't forget to start with a dream while the mc is staring at the mirror and describing herself. Agents love that. :)

Melissa said...

If you ask me, I think the advice you just gave is the best I've come across so far. I mean, it sort of has to be considering it goes against everything I've ever heard. ANd if we want our books to sell we have to be different, right??

LTM said...

omg, blonde moment. I was reading along going... huh? Maybe I should send Jen an email... :D lol!

Worst writing advice... hmm. Not sure! But the best is like Matt's, "keep writing." :D <3

Chrissi said...

what a cute blog! thanks for stopping by my blog & following me! look forward to following you too! ps, although maybe not the best advice, i love the smell of frosting ;)

Colene Murphy said...

Ha! Okay...I kinda liked the cupcake idea. YUM.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

LOL! You are too dang awesome! :-)

Meredith said...

Okay, only one emotion, got it. And I always knew cupcakes were magical! Good luck, Jen!

Talli Roland said...

HA! I furrowed my brow a bit, thinking... Whaaat? I'm a bit slow today.

I don't think I've ever got any really truly bad writing advice. That I know of, anyway!

Happy Monday, Mrs Daiker! :)

Quinn said...

Never really got any bad writing advice. I love reading some of the other advice that people are leaving in the comments.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Too funny! Best worst writing advice? Don't end the novel with: And then I woke up and thought, was it all a dream?

Happy November, Jen!

Samantha Vérant said...

You're having a crazy moment, right? too funny.

Ooh. Love my word ver. winkywa

Winkywa. I have to work that into a novel.

Stephanie said...

LOL! Great post!! Definitely made me smile!!!

Kimberly Franklin said...

LOL! Thanks for making me laugh today. Especially on a Monday. :)

Jai Joshi said...

The worst advice I ever had (and it was unsolicited advice too which is always annoying) was to never show my writing to other writers.

Jai

Sara B. Larson said...

That's funny, I switched #1 to be the right way in my mind, so I thought this was serious. Then I read #2 and thought, "whaaa?" Yep, I'm slow sometimes. Ha ha. ;)

Holly Ruggiero said...

It took me to #3 to realize I was reading it like I thought it should read, ie. show don’t tell. Then I did a double take and read it correctly. Maybe some reading advice is in order!

Though #5 I take seriously. ;)

Nicole Zoltack said...

LOL Having cupcakes nearby would definitely not be a good thing... I would eat them! Btw, you forgot the MC staring at herself in the mirror. Or waking up. :)

Alison Stevens said...

Great list! I automatically read the first one as "show, don't tell."

It's not really bad advice, but the sense I've gotten from some people that they have the "right" way of doing things and everyone who says the writing process is otherwise is wrong.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Ha! Love it! If I follow this advice I'm sure to have an award-winning bestseller on my hands ;)

Candyland said...

I don't have a cupcake:(

The English Writer said...

I think the worst thing I ever heard was when a relatively well known U.K author said, "you can't call yourself a writer until you're published" - I have to say it was the biggest load of bulls*** I'd ever heard!!! K xx

Donea Lee said...

You're too funny - :) But, how did you know that I'm writing a novel about a mono-syllabic, cup-cake hoarding, tall, red-headed, green-eyed, toothless, man who walks with a limp and has a farm on the outskirts of Des Moines?

VICTORIA SAAVEDRA said...

Worst advice?

Only write about what is possible not the impossible.

Emy Shin said...

I'm not sure I've ever received a terrible advice, but if I did, it would be to only move on to the next scene when the previous one is perfect. It might work for some people, but I'd never get anything written!

Lynda Young said...

But I like #5 tip. Hmmm...cupcakes...

Abby Minard said...

Love the advice! And yum, cupcakes! A really good piece of advice I have gotten- write what you love!

Lo said...

Considering that my current WIP is about time travel, I think the worst advice I've ever heard/read is ''write what you know'' :-)

Jolene Perry said...

Only write what you know.

Jodi Henry said...

This is too funny.

I once told a friend that due to my lack of any fashion sense that my characters always end up wearing jeans and a tee shirt and it bugged me.

She said "well don't show the reader what they are wearing then. It's no big deal."

Hm...

it is if they spend a good chunk of time naked and are actually venturing into public, where one would assume they should be wearing clothes. Funny picture, sure a person drinking a latte naked, but not realistic. HAHA

PS: you have a beautiful blog award waiting at at my blog.

J

http://jodilhenry.blogspot.com

Rose Cooper said...

you had me worried at first! I thought, wait, that's not right! lol.

One thing i've learned-ignore the rules and do your own thing. I still have to remind myself of this at times.

Kristin Rae said...

Oh if only I had a cupcake!!

You are dangerously close to 1k followers girlfriend!

Melissa Sarno said...

haha! Tell don't show! I like that one.
I don't know that I've ever received really bad writing advice. Seems like I try to take everything people say and adapt it so it will work for me. Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

Guinevere said...

I think having a cupcake around is excellent advice, actually. I wish I had one now. :)

Lydia Kang said...

Hmmm, worst advice?
"Maybe you should stop writing until your kids finish high school." (my kids are 2,6, and 8).
That one made me pretty mad.

Emily said...

I did a double take when I read the first one. Then I figured you must be joking. :)

Lola Sharp said...

The cupcake one stays. Mmmm, frosting. :)

Reesha said...

Hey, thanks for commenting on my blog. It's always nice to meet a new face, ....er....a new blog.
Congrats on the whole blogging 7 days a week thing.

The best writing advice I've received was from my cousin.
"Oh, Reesha, just go write YOUR book!" she said in exasperation to my writer's block complaints.
It helped.

Brenda Drake said...

Yeah, I'd have to say the cupcake one stays as well. I can't think of any bad advice I've gotten lately. You've probably hit them all.

BTW I totally choked on Smartie when I saw how many words you've already written on day one for NaNo. You're almost a fifth of the way done. Congrats! :D

Lacey Devlin said...

Congrats on your incredible word count for NaNo so far! At this rate you'll finished two in a month ;)

Krispy said...

Hehe. I wish the cupcake one was true!

Ellie said...

What's wrong with Iowa? My last story was set there. Hang on, it was a homage to William Shatner. Emm . . .note to self: do not set future stories in Iowa. Maybe a different planet would be better? LOL.

Great post, save the cupcake idea. My waistline won't tolerate writing 50,000 words AND cupcakes.