What's the worst writing advice you've ever been given?
Mine is "you have to write every day." Totally impractical for so many of us, but you hear this all the time! I have a writing schedule, but it is *not* daily.
(Full disclosure: I'm writing an article about this on spec and would like to mention some of your "worst advice," so please let me know if you're willing to share. If not, would still be curious to hear your worst advice!)
Hook the reader.
This has to do with interpretation of the advice. Unfortunately, "hook the reader" ends up morphing into some slam-bam bit of writing or a big ka-pow prologue that might hook the reader, but can be difficult to follow-up. I don't think it's meant to mean something huge unless it's a dead body in a detective novel. But it does have the ring of larger than life. I think I've had to back off on this and realize that subtlety and intrigue, just a whisper, can "hook" as well as showing a character doing something from the middle of the book or even close to the end to make us say "Oh, what the heck? I have to find out what's happened." That's more about plot than character usually. I'm not being very clear, so does anyone have something to add or clarify? Thanks.
Great points, Autumn. I've been preparing a new workshop to take around and present this Tuesday at Willamette Writers Speaker's Series titled "How to Destroy Your Plot in Ten Easy Lessons." All the lessons are from my personal experience, while using great advice from a multiple of sources. This one has a chapter called "Why You Need to Show and Tell: or why the most common piece of advice given to beginning writers is misleading." The book by Alice LaPlante is THE MAKING OF A STORY; A NORTON GUIDE TO CREATIVE WRITING. I'm a seasoned writer, and I'm devouring this one. It's full of sound, balanced advice and fantastic examples.
And Ute, it's all about relationship, isn't it. Great characters whom you feel compelled to follow.
Love that link! Too much caffeine too late in the day gave me an opportunity to listen to this entertaining piece! Thank you!