Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writer's Whiplash

Quote of the Day: "You can't stay young forever ... but you can always be immature." I don't know where this is from, but it pretty much sums up my life.

Trying to follow all the "rules" of writing is like being in a constant state of whiplash. I go to the conferences, I read the books, I follow the blogs. Can't all those agenty/publishy people out there just come up with one set of guidelines they can all agree on?

So far, this is what I've learned:

Show don't tell, unless your showing with physical body language, then that's also telling and cliche, or when doing internal thoughts in which telling is ok as long it's not too tell-y.

Don't use filter words because they distance the reader and it's lazy writing, better to use questions, but don't use questions because it's lazy writing.

Make sure that all the dialogue is essential to the forwarding of the plot, but don't actually use too much dialogue to let the story unfold, it breaks up the plot.


Bottom Line:

There is a infinite number of personal preferences out there. You can never make everyone happy. Write the story that makes you happy--and write is as well as you possibly can.

As Sara Megibow explained at the 2011 LDStorymakers Conference: Yes, there are a million rules, break them or not, it's your choice. The only thing that matters is if it is well written.


  1. So true. That's why I don't read any writing blogs. They contradict themselves. Or maybe I don't read them because I'm too lazy...

  2. I totally agree. Sometimes it's overwhelming to read the non-fiction books on writing and other times it's totally inspiring. But even within one book a reader can detect contradictions about the the to-dos and the not-to-dos. AGGGH!

    Then I sit down and start reading a book that is so good I can hardly put it down and the author has done quite a bit that we read about as being "wrong", but it works. Magic or craft? Maybe a little of both.

    I've come to a similar conclusion - read and write what satisfies you. Be aware of the rules - especially when you are breaking them, but don't let them bog down your writing.