As a writer, I receive a lot of advice, from fellow writers and from people who really don’t know what they’re talking about. I also read a lot of writing books that are full of nuggets of wisdom as well as ‘advice’ that I think does more harm than good. Today I’m sharing the best and worst writing advice I’ve ever received or read about.
Thankfully, I’ve had a lot more good advice in my 7 years of being a writer than bad. It actually took me some time to think of bad advice, until I remembered this one book on writing I read back in 2018. There were a couple quotes from it that upset me so much, I actually posted about them on Instagram.
The first one is, “Real writers are leery of praise and know that a publishing contract is the only true sign that the work is good.” (The Constant Art of Being a Writer by N. M. Kelby) This is just such a harmful statement, especially for new authors. Let me be the voice of reason: the worth of your work should not be decided by publishers. Publishing is a business and publishers are always thinking about the market and what is ‘hot’. Your book isn’t bad if it doesn’t fit the current market. On another note, my book is self-published. I don’t have a publishing contract and there are plenty of people out there who are enjoying my work. The true sign that the work is good is whether or not people like it once it’s out there and whether or not you as the author like it, no matter what.
The second quote is, “If you haven’t been published, and you call yourself a writer, you’re always going to wonder if you’re delusional.” (The Constant Art of Being a Writer by N. M. Kelby) Yet another toxic sentence. Let’s get one thing straight, you don’t call yourself a writer, you either are or you aren’t. A writer by definition is someone who writes. Plain and simple. Many writers never get published. Many don’t want to. But you are not delusional to call yourself a writer without a publishing contract.
Now, onto something a bit more upbeat. The best piece of writing advice I’ve ever received came from my Critique Partner while I was doing revisions for Silent Night. I was having a lot of problems with the romantic subplot in my book at the time. I was struggling to make it realistic, in terms of dialogue and character reactions. I knew what I wanted from the story, but I didn’t know how to implement those wants, how to put words on a page in the way I saw the story in my head.
The solution my CP gave me was so simple, I can’t believe I’d never come across it before. She told me to write the scene from the love interest’s perspective.
Basically, my whole book is written from the MC’s perspective, in 1st person, so she perceives things in her own way and when I write the love interest’s reactions, I’m almost guessing. So I wrote 4 key scenes from his perspective as an exercise and was able to add so much more: simple nuances, body language, and even changing his dialogue to better suit him once I knew him better. It changed everything and when I was done, I added the new bits back into my original manuscript. It did wonders to consider things from his perspective for a change.
So, if you’re having romance issues or issues with interaction between any 2 or more characters, try rewriting from a different perspective and then implementing the changes you discover.
I hope you guys took a little something away from today’s post. Definitely let me know your thoughts about the above points, and feel free to share your own best and worst writing advice in the comments.
Next week’s post is for the readers: some info on Silent Night and why I think it stands out. I’ve never done a post solely about my book before, so I’m both excited and nervous. Wish me luck. See you next time and, as always, keep writing.