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Bad writing advice you should ignore!

January 12, 2019
Bad writing advice you should ignore!

Bad writing advice you should ignore!

Write what you know.

The first one in the list of bad writing advice you should ignore. A few years ago I did a self-editing course with an editor who did editorial work for Cosmopolitan. One of the advice she gave us was to write what we know. I have heard this advice before, somehow; I don’t get the meaning of it. If we write what we know, as writers, it will limit us. I write thrillers, and characters die, so do I have to kill someone to see what it feels like? I think not.

You MUST do an outline.

I heard this repeatedly. You should outline. You Must outline. It is important to outline. An outline is a roadmap for you as the writer. It’s like a guide for your story so when you write you know everything beforehand. This advice needs to stop. No, you don’t have to create an outline if you hate doing it. It’s okay not to do outlines, nobody will know, especially the reader. As I reader, when I open the book I don’t ask myself “let’s see, did you author create an outline for their story?”

Don’t use said or asked.

When writing dialogue stick with SAID or ASKED. Don’t decorate your dialogue with remarked, exclaimed, declared etc. Those words pull the reader out of the story. Said is an invisible word and the reader won’t normally notice it. If in dialogue you have a question use asked. If there is a fight, yes use screamed or yelled but out of those scenes stick with SAID. To avoid using said have your character doing something like, sitting down on the chair, have a sip of coffee, run their hands through their hair, to avoid the word said.

You should hire beta readers

A good deal of might disagree with me, but there is a lot of advice out there about hiring beta readers to read your work. First, finding someone willing to commit to reading your work is tough. I had trouble finding betas. I looked on Facebook; I asked in social media; I looked on Goodreads. Some of them disappeared with my manuscript. I settled with ones that had reading fees which I will not do again. If you don’t feel comfortable about having strangers reading your work than don’t do it but don’t skip on hiring an editor, that step is mandatory. (If you are self-publishing)

Write every day!

And the last one in bad writing advice you should ignore. I admit, I write every day, but when I don’t feel like it or have other commitments; I don’t write and I don’t stress on it. There is advice out there saying you should write every day or else you can’t call yourself a writer. That is bad advice. If you wrote something, you are a writer and there shouldn’t be this pressure. You do you.

Plotting for Pantsers. With two simple steps.

Happy writing and reading xx

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