10 Newbie Writer Mistakes
I’ve worked in publishing as an editor and a published author, I have a degree in English with a concentration in Journalism, and I’ve been around for over twenty years in one capacity or another in publishing…since college when I had my first story published. And that does not make me special. It does not mean I have all the answers. Far from it. I learn something new every single day. The day I stop learning something new about the craft will be the day I stop breathing. I’ve worked with many good editors over the years and I’ve learned a great deal from them.
With that said, I see A LOT of bad writing advice on social media, almost daily. It comes from people who make claims they can’t back up and there isn’t always a scam for money involved. Sometimes it’s just someone bloviating nonsense for free on Facebook, from an old 1990s computer in their kitchen, and people will believe him/her just because he/she sounds as if they know better. And the sad fact is they don’t. Even sadder, they confuse new writers more than they help them.
I’ve never believed there are set rules to writing, and I’ve never followed any set patterns in a general sense. However, there are a few distinctions when it comes to the actual writing (or novel crafting) and if you don’t know any better it could prove embarrassing. And there are some things about the technical side of crafting a novel that are there for a purpose. This purpose is usually based on keeping the reader entertained and keeping the story flowing smoothly.
This article to which I’m linking now over at Anne R. Allen’s blog talks about 10 things that will flag you as a newbie…if you don’t know any better. One of the biggest things I see all the time is bad dialogue. It comes in many forms and this is just one form…
The writer who strains to avoid the word “said” can rapidly slide into bad pun territory, as in the archetypal example from the old “Tom Swift” boys’ books: “‘We must run,’ exclaimed Tom swiftly.”
They were turned into a silly game in the 1960s, promoted by Time Magazine, which invited the public to submit outrageous Tom Swifties like:
“Careful with that chainsaw,” Tom said offhandedly.
“I might as well be dead,” Tom croaked.
So we don’t want to go there by accident. Bad dialogue tags may have crept into your consciousness at an early age from those Tom Swift, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. The books were great fun—I adored them myself—but they were written by a stable of underpaid hacks and although the characters are classic, the prose is not.
You can read the rest of the post here. It doesn’t cover all the territory of bad dialogue but it’s spot on and I learned a few new things myself from it. And, I think that’s important to remember. Don’t ever, ever become so old and smug and grand that you think you know it all. That’s when it becomes dangerous, because there’s always something new to learn.
Do I think there are exceptions to the rules? Yes. I do. However, the only exception for me would be damn fantastic story-telling. Drop dead fantastic story-telling, I think, trumps it all.
Nude Alex Minsky
Here’s a link to one of those posts where they show photos with captions of many interesting faces…and sometimes interesting asses. In one of the photos you can see Alex Minksy face down on a table, naked, getting a new tattoo on his behind. It’s very ass-y. And who doesn’t love Alex Minksy?
And I liked this diet tip from Ashley Parker Angel, even though I don’t know who the hell he is.
Diet tip: Carbohydrates have the greatest effect on fat storage / fat loss — healthy carbs like oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potato will keep you lean. Hardest part for me is giving up bread.
It’s true, what he says, this Ashley Parker Angel dude. I know this because I haven’t had a piece of bread or pasta since Bush was in office. You will lose weight, and you’ll most likely feel better.
Gay Shopaholic Catfight
This is one of those posts that cause many gay men to cringe. It might cause anyone from the PC police to cringe. However, I thought it was funny, even if you don’t understand the language, and that’s why I’m sharing it.
People go on shopping sprees for a variety of reasons, but is it mostly to fill the lack of love in their lives? Entertainer Idan Matalon and So You Think You Can Dance contestant Asaf Goren get to the bottom of this debate while lip-syncing to one of their favorite telenovelas. Naturally it ends in a very dramatic dance-off.
If you can’t laugh at this one, you might have your head up your proverbial PC behind a little too far 🙂