Hello and welcome to Writer’s Wednesday #1.
A bit about my writing before I get started. I write mainly epic fantasy and paranormal mystery/urban fantasy and a bit of science fiction and romance on the side. Okay, enough about me, let’s talk about this week’s post.
This past week I went over to Seton Hill for my second residency. It was a blast and consisted mainly of critique sessions and module classes. It also consisted of attending two student teaching presentations. In a few semesters, I too will need to complete a student teaching session, and, as my fellow second-semester students and I observed, we’re not looking too forward to that.
The idea is to present something relevant to writing that will be beneficial to your fellow Writing Popular Fiction students (WPFers). However, we are writers, and as such, we are creative persons or, in my case, a joker. After the student presentations, I turned to a friend of mine and said “When I do mine, I want to walk into the room, turn off the lights, and say ‘Forget everything you’ve learned about writing. I’m here to tell you what’s real.” I explained that I wanted to do this in the creepiest voice possible and further that it would be amusing if I reversed all of the lessons about writing that Seton Hill teaches. My friends took this to heart, and we spent lunch that day coming up with the reverses I speak of. Here are a few.
I now present 15 Always Nevers of Writing.
Again, I want to stress that this is for humor only. “Do not try this at home…go to a friend’s house.”
-Always avoid conflict – Readers get frightened by arguments, battles, internal struggle, or any other problems the characters might face.
-Always use plenty of adverbs and adjectives – Compare the following two sentences.
“He sprinted down the hill and into the on-coming hordes.”
“He ran quickly down the sloping, winding, twisting, decline and toward the oddly placed, sweaty, unfashionable army below.”
Clearly, the second sentence is the better of the two.
-Always make your protagonist either too perfect or too flawed – Readers want to read about people they could never hope to be/relate to. The “every-man” is so boring.
-Always tell don’t show – It’s faster and allows you to get more description on each page.
-Always repeat words – “The whip cracked in the silence like the cracking of a whip in the silence.” That’s what I’m talkin’ about.
-Always shape your plot progression as a straight line rather than a bell curve – Readers are resistant to or fear change.
-Always make all of your characters’ dialogue similar – Readers get confused by too many characters that sound differently.
-Always head hop – It’s so boring being in one person’s thoughts for too long.
-Always infodump – It’s easier to explain everything in one five-page section of paragraphs then to sprinkle details throughout the novel.
-Always write in the second person point of view – Readers want to be directly addressed and told what to think. Figuring it out takes too much work on both your part and theirs.
-Always finish a synopsis with “If you want to know what happens, you’ll just have to read my book.” – Publishers love this.
-Always use exciting speaker tags, such as “exclaimed emphatically” or “droned quietly” – It makes your writing more understandable.
-Always write what you know nothing about, especially for fantasy or science fiction – It’s all made up anyway.
-Always use a lot of commas – Periods indicate longer pauses. The breaks are too long, though, and will impact the flow of the story. “Go, keep running, if we keep going we’ll make it by night fall, hurry up” Much faster than “Go! Keep running. If we keep going, we’ll make it by night fall. Hurry up.”
-Always have your characters grimace – It’s important.