Everybody’s got an opinion, even when you don’t ask for one. I think this is especially true when you’re a writer. It seems like everybody’s got an idea of what you need to do to become the next bestseller. For fun, I opened this question up to our Twitter followers and got some really interesting responses. Here are my picks for the WORST writing advice.
You Must Write Short Stories Before Attempting A Novel. I have to say from personal experience that I hate writing short stories. I just have too much detail in my head to cut it down. If you have a story there then write it. Don’t worry about your writing experience, let the words flow on their own and don’t try to dictate where it goes.
Never Break The Rules. I agree and disagree on this one. If a sentence needs a comma, then put it there. Those types of rules are pretty solid. But, when dealing with dialogue, I especially think you need to break a few rules. Your characters need to sound like people, not robots (unless your novel is about robots). Children and teenagers have their own lingo which you may not find in the latest Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary so keep that in mind for those characters.
You Must Participate In A Critique Group. Some critique groups are great and offer sound advice, but not all. Just because someone calls themselves a writer doesn’t mean they’re in any position to offer advice. This is especially true if they don’t write in your genre. I mean, I could probably offer advice about fantasy writing just because I read it and write all the time, but if you asked me about science fiction or horror then I’d be lost. Critique groups can be great, but be cautious with their input into your story.
Stick To What You Know. I can’t help laughing as I write that. If we only wrote about what we know then we wouldn’t have fantasy, horror, paranormal, or science fiction novels. We’d have nothing but non-fiction. I say, write what you love. If all you read is fantasy then write fantasy. To me, this is a no brainer.
Stop Writing. I hate this one. Way to crush someone’s dream. If anyone tells you this then just cut them off and walk away. Never let anyone tell you to quit what you love. Never let anyone tell you that what you have isn’t enough. I’d say, if you doubt your skills then write more and work hard at improving your craft, but never give up. Rejections are part of life. J.K. Rowling’s was rejected by eleven publishers before signing a deal for Harry Potter! Stephenie Meyer received seven rejections from agencies who didn’t think Twilight was publishable. Final verdict, keep writing and keep believing in yourself!
Check out some of my other articles for writers: http://www.yafantasyguide.com/for-writers/index.htm