Monday, October 28, 2013

Writing Advice that Annoys Me

I haven't written much, if anything, actually, in the last couple of years, but that doesn't stop me from looking at writing advice. And if I'd try to follow this advice, I would have given up trying to write years and years ago. In fact, it reminds me of the advice that did make me give up for a decade or so back in the '80s.

First, it compares writing to climbing a mountain. Uh, no. Mountain-climbing is a pretty standard activity. There is standard equipment and there are standard procedures one should follow. It's a clearly defined task. See mountain, climb mountain. But a book? No. Because while some people can see the mountain/end point of their book, vague or clear, not everyone can. Some people write so they can find the mountain/story/conclusion.

Second, it's kinda vague. Suggestions include reading novels to see what works and reading books on writing craft. Which of course can lead to frustration if, like me, you can't analyze books as to what works and if, like me, you find books on writing craft don't apply to you. No actual, practical tips on how to do anything is offered.

The author of the advice touches on pov, character, style. The suggestion to consider what your characters would do if they were to meet a relative they didn't know about might help some writers develop their characters' personalities, but for others, like me, it's just an exercise and I never was good at those. I always discover my characters as I write them doing the things that come up in the actual story set in the actual reality they live in. My characters reveal themselves to me. They can surprise me months down the line as I write about them.

I really shouldn't look at writing advice. It usually just annoys me. But there's always the chance I'll read something that makes sense to me. So I keep reading these articles, and hoping.

No comments:

Post a Comment