Famous Authors’ Bad Writing Advice

kid stop talking

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re looking at an excerpt from a previous post titled Words of Advice from Famous Authors That Are Just Wrong.

I imagine this post is bound to draw some criticism, but bring it on!

Maybe it’s just me, but when I read pithy statements from famous authors that are hailed as sage advice, I often scratch my head. Based on my experience as an author, sometimes the savvy advice is more rosemary or thyme than sage.

This silly analogy makes me think of spices, which leads me to think how everyone’s tastes are different. You may love cumin in your chili (I do), but a friend of mine says it tastes like dust and she can’t stand it.

So what’s my point about sage advice? That just because some really famous author said it, doesn’t mean it really applies to you. What works as gospel for one writer may be madness for another.

So it may be wise to take such advice with a grain of salt (unless you don’t like salt—so maybe that expression doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this context). For you, maybe that great advice is just plain wrong. Continue Reading…

10 Helpful Tips to Boost Your Writing Productivity

woman with sticky notes

Today’s post is by Kevin McNamara.

It’s common knowledge that in our age we face an overwhelming amount of information every day—and while it’s extremely stressful and distracting, it’s holding us back from being productive. But don’t worry, this tendency affects everyone in the world, including us writers (possibly with the exception of some Buddhist monks who can easily zone out when needed).

There are various books about boosting your working productivity and stress resistance—you should definitely give them a read, but this short list will save you some time until you do.

Hopefully, these tips can be of help to young and aspiring authors, as well as our experienced and established colleagues.

  1. Look out for good advice

Evidently, many writers dismiss posts on boosting productivity by default. They tend to think of those posts as unoriginal and trivial, but even if the advice that you stumble upon does not seem all that original to you, it might be still useful to consider it. Continue Reading…

Understanding Plots and Subplots When Layering Scenes in Novels

A few weeks back, I shared some posts on how writers can layer subplot scenes over the ten foundational novel scenes.

Subplots are terrific if done well, so if you’re writing a novel and you don’t have a subplot, think about adding one. If you missed these posts, go back and check them out.

We’re spending some months exploring my 10-20-30 Scene Builder Concept. Since novel writing is a dog of a task, and it’s daunting to figure out how to transfer all those great scene ideas into a solid story, using a system that helps you build wisely is the key.

While it’s fine to just lay out all your scenes in advance in some sort of intuitively logical order, that often proves disastrous. If a writer doesn’t have a seriously strong grasp of novel structure, it’s not going to be easy to wing it when it comes to organizing scenes. Continue Reading…

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