April 8, 2013

Pep Rally Monday: Writing Advice

Monday Pep Rally is a weekly feature where the Misfits post a question for you, the reader, to answer. You can answer on your own blog and link in the comments, or just answer here!

Good morning, Misfiteers! How many of you are writing today? Because I am! And I've been thinking lately about some of my favorite writing advice--you know, the stuff I think about every time I write, that keeps me on track. Of course there are a zillion writing tips out there, but for me, some resonate more than others, and some resonate more at certain times. A few of my current favorites:

-The main character must be the driver of most of the action in the book. In other words, the MC can't sit around waiting for things to happen and reacting to them--she has to take control!

-There must be tension on EVERY page.

-Use senses besides sight and hearing.

-Show don't tell, but also don't show AND tell. If the character does or says something that makes her thought process obvious, there is no need to have her inner monologue about it. (Eh hem, this one is tough for me.) 

And finally, when I'm feeling like it's never going to be as perfect as I want it, this one from Neil Gaiman: "Novels are never completed. Just abandoned and published." 

What about you? What is some of your favorite writing advice?


Maya Prasad said...

My favorite advice comes from Story by Robert McKee.

He says that the climax should be unexpected, yet inevitable.

This means that even though we're blown away, the ending totally makes sense, given all of the little details that we've learned throughout the novel about our character and the world. I think every major plot point should aim for the same.

Maggie Hall said...

Yes! I LOVE that tip! It goes back to another one I love too, which is that every important thing should come back in some way. Kind of like Chekov's Gun--don't do something that looks important then leave it there without making it fit the story in some way.

Carrie-Anne said...

If you're writing third-person omniscient, don't write in God-mode and give away spoilers, the ending, or pivotal plot points. Omniscient also doesn't mean making moral or character judgments on your characters, like saying "the stupid child" or "he foolishly fell for the lie." I couldn't finish reading one of the most overrated historicals of recent years, because the gimmicky, obnoxious narrator kept horning into the narrative to give everything away.

JEShannonauthor said...

Put words on paper. Even if they suck, don't obsess or you can get yourself stuck. Just write out the scene, move on, and fix it later. :)

Dahlia Adler said...

Lately I'm obsessed with "You can't edit a blank page." Sometimes you just have to push through the suck, so you can turn it into glory!

Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morgan York said...

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." - Anton Chekhov

In other words, I'm echoing show, don't tell (but in a visual sense).

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