Whew! It has been a while, hasn’t it, my lovelies? As you may have surmised, I’m not dead yet. I’ve been busy and preoccupied. My little sister graduated high school, and all last week was busy with one thing or another. I also had no thoughts to share, no quirky little things for me to suggest for my fellows writers, so the silence. Yesterday was an interesting day, mostly on my critique forum, and that brings me to this entry.
I love reading input from fellow writers about the writing process. This may sound sarcastic to some, but know that I say that with no sarcasm. We have embarked up on a path to publication, we writers. We’re learning many things as we go – story structure, emotional engagement, character development, plot, pacing, clarity, and so on. We’re inundated with rules – don’t use adverbs, don’t use passive voice, only use said with dialogue tags, avoid inner monologues, don’t use italics for emphasis, and the ever popular show, don’t tell. This can be confusing, disorienting, and discouraging. We either pick ourselves up, dust off our shoulders, and decide what works best for the story at hand; or we procrastinate with our writing, eventually stopping and going on to other things.
This is for those of us dust off our shoulders, carry on, and share our journeys with others.
Remember clarity when writing advice to fellow writers, be they new to the game or not. Remember it not for just the sake of the story but for your blogs and your “advice” as well. Yesterday, I encountered a guy on my critique forum who wished he could press two concepts onto new writers. (He posted this directly to the writing section of the forums.) For as good as his advice sounded to him, many of us were not happy. I was one of them. I was not happy because of the way I inferred his tone.
He also had some clarity issues in his original post, and there is a danger in not being clear when you’re handing out writing advice. People will take your advice literally. They will take it to be gospel. There is also the risk they will interpret your words of wisdom in a way you never meant, a way that is actually very detrimental to your credibility as a professional writer. Some advice is better off not being interpreted. The second concept this guy presented to us at Scribo, it took someone else explaining it for me to understand how it was actually a useful piece of advice.
For the all writers out there, be you new, or at some other stage in the process, do not be afraid to ask questions, either. If an author has presented advice in a blog that, to you, can be interpreted a thousand ways over, please do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions, finding out why, and understanding that some of the “rules” are than just guidelines, will help you improve as a writer. If an author is snooty in responding to your inquiries (me included), then perhaps that author is not the best person to turn to for advice. (Though I think most beginning authors will find the professional authors to be a very friendly bunch and very helpful.)
Have a safe, wonderful, and fun Saturday! If the weather’s nice, get outside and enjoy it! Writing can be done with pen and paper as well as computer.