“Don’t listen to advice. Even mine.”
As a writer, I want to be informed. I loathe ignorance and am not a fan of failure. I do my best to avoid the pitfalls. I want to be professional. I want to be a great writer. Basically, I want to prove to the publishing world and the world in general that I am not a yahoo and what I have to say is worth their time and maybe even their money.
But the world is a confusing place, full of contradictions and slippery concepts, and the writing world is no exception. Here is some advice that I hear over and over again from authors, editors, and agents alike.
Show don’t tell.
Just tell me what happens!
Pay attention to the market.
Don’t worry about the market.
You have to outline.
An outline will only stifle your creativity.
Join a critique group.
Critique groups are the devil.
You have to be willing to make changes.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to write your story.
Sometimes you just have to admit that it’s not working and move on.
Never give up! Never surrender!
Basically, this is all really great advice. The trick is to figure out what advice goes where and when and for what. I think I’ve addressed some of these contradictions in other posts, but for the next few posts I’ll be addressing these contradictions in detail. First up- our favorite, most common piece of writing advice..Show, don’t tell!
What contradictory advice have you heard? Or maybe just really bad advice?
p.s. Thanks for all your reading suggestion. I’m off to the library!