The Best and Worst Advice

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LeaNyathi
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The Best and Worst Advice

Post by LeaNyathi » 11 May 2018, 07:29

When you start out, in anything really, there are many who will come with some advice. Some will be great, some not so great. As a writer, what is the best and worst advice you have ever received?

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Morgan Jones
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Post by Morgan Jones » 11 Jun 2018, 21:35

Best Advice: consider writing short notes whenever inspiration strikes, then develop them later. Don't focus on writing a perfect paragraph because that will take more time and you will lose your inspiration much quicker.

Worst Advice: force yourself to write even when you don't feel like it.
"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." -Haruki Murakami

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Post by rave_2 » 11 Jun 2018, 22:52

Not really sure about any good advice, but the worst advice I hear a lot is "show, don't tell." Yes, it's understandable that showing is important, but not everything should be shown is the reason why I hate this advice. A good story has its own mix of show and tell.

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PlanetHauth
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Post by PlanetHauth » 11 Jun 2018, 23:33

rave_2 wrote:
11 Jun 2018, 22:52
Not really sure about any good advice, but the worst advice I hear a lot is "show, don't tell." Yes, it's understandable that showing is important, but not everything should be shown is the reason why I hate this advice. A good story has its own mix of show and tell.
I was going to comment with this. I personally think it's the best AND the worst advice, because it never really comes with a warning (and it really should). Like you said, not everything needs to be show in great detail. There's a time and place for showing. However, it's also a necessary element for certain scenes. Unfortunately, some authors take this piece of advice and just run away with it, so we end up with books full of ridiculously long, and oftentimes awkward, descriptions where they don't belong.
“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
-Bilbo Baggins

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kleprich23
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Post by kleprich23 » 12 Jun 2018, 12:54

Best advice? Don't write for others. Sure, there's the fact of target audiences, and it's best to keep them in mind to some extent, but sucking all the passion out of your work solely to please others is going to leave something to be desired in your writing.

As for worst advice... "Write only what you know." Why, when writing outside of your comfort zone could offer you a new perspective on things and challenge you as both a writer and person?

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rave_2
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Post by rave_2 » 12 Jun 2018, 13:37

PlanetHauth wrote:
11 Jun 2018, 23:33
rave_2 wrote:
11 Jun 2018, 22:52
Not really sure about any good advice, but the worst advice I hear a lot is "show, don't tell." Yes, it's understandable that showing is important, but not everything should be shown is the reason why I hate this advice. A good story has its own mix of show and tell.
I was going to comment with this. I personally think it's the best AND the worst advice, because it never really comes with a warning (and it really should). Like you said, not everything needs to be show in great detail. There's a time and place for showing. However, it's also a necessary element for certain scenes. Unfortunately, some authors take this piece of advice and just run away with it, so we end up with books full of ridiculously long, and oftentimes awkward, descriptions where they don't belong.
Exactly!
And I agree that it should come with a warning. New authors need to learn to decide when to show and when to tell so that there are no unnecessary descriptions.

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PlanetHauth
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Post by PlanetHauth » 12 Jun 2018, 20:34

rave_2 wrote:
12 Jun 2018, 13:37
PlanetHauth wrote:
11 Jun 2018, 23:33
rave_2 wrote:
11 Jun 2018, 22:52
Not really sure about any good advice, but the worst advice I hear a lot is "show, don't tell." Yes, it's understandable that showing is important, but not everything should be shown is the reason why I hate this advice. A good story has its own mix of show and tell.
I was going to comment with this. I personally think it's the best AND the worst advice, because it never really comes with a warning (and it really should). Like you said, not everything needs to be show in great detail. There's a time and place for showing. However, it's also a necessary element for certain scenes. Unfortunately, some authors take this piece of advice and just run away with it, so we end up with books full of ridiculously long, and oftentimes awkward, descriptions where they don't belong.
Exactly!
And I agree that it should come with a warning. New authors need to learn to decide when to show and when to tell so that there are no unnecessary descriptions.
Yes! In all my research on writing (I'm that kind of person), I've only come across one article that explains showing is great for romantic scenes, for example, but we all know how to open a door, so there's no need to show that. It was a simple example, but it was enough to make me realize when show and tell are appropriate.
“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
-Bilbo Baggins

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Post by DustinPBrown » 13 Jun 2018, 11:18

Worst advice: Don't use "said" because that's boring, use a stronger verb! The truth is, readers don't even notice dialog tags if they're reading fast. Including too many and too many unique ones can slow them down. It's better to use verb tags like "scream" or "murmur" when it's necessary or surprising. Ideally, all the character's emotions should be obvious in the dialog.

Best advice: Read as much as you can, because as a writer, that's our research and how we improve our craft.

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