This week I offer you a rant, an apology and a request. I hope you enjoy them.
The first thing I want to write about today is about the topic of writing advice itself. All too often do I see writing advice given, in this blog or on other online forums, with the response being:
"Well, that doesn't work in all cases."
"Here's an example of where a writer didn't do that and it's great."
"It should be remembered not to take this advice as universal."
To which the voice in my head responds: "Well, obviously!"
All writing advice, whether written by me, Stephen King, the Pope or Ursula LeGuin, is subjective. None of it is applicable to all situations and none of it should be taken as gospel. They are tools to be used, considered and adapted when the purpose suits them.
If you don't like it, or it doesn't fit your story, ignore it. Or at the very least, consider why it doesn't fit your story and what that says about your type of story.
This isn't groundbreaking news for most people, but it felt like a necessary response to people telling me that my advice doesn't apply to this story or that book. Of course it doesn't. It was never meant to.
Distractions and Deadlines
As you may have noticed, I failed to post anything last week. It has been a completely hectic couple of weeks. Having just got back from working Sri Lanka, I had to go to South Korea a few days later for work as well. On top of this there were a variety of pressing deadlines, both in my writing and in other areas, that I had to meet.
As such, the blog was forced into the backseat and has been sitting there, pouting unhappily, for a good week now. Sorry.
But fear not, I fully intend to return to my regular Thursday scheduling as soon as possible. I've even cancelled a trip to Malaysia this weekend in order to get my head together and focus on some actual writing (and get some sleep!)
Here's what I need from you:
What would you like to read about?
To date, I have written about plot structure, scene structure, protagonists and antagonists, dialogue and description, first person and multiple POVs and pathos and endings. There are many other topics in writing that deserve covering and I'd love to lend my thoughts and ideas to any of them, but I'd appreciate getting a sense of what people want to learn more about.
Attached is a google form - I ask one thing of this week, dear subscribers - tell me what you want me to write about. Fill out the single question form and I shall strive to write about every request that comes in.
Please do keep them focused on something to do with writing, though. As much as I would be willing to give you a long and detailed essay on my opinions on grumpy-looking cats, it doesn't really fit in this blog.
Thanks, and see you next Thursday.
I am a writer, a reader and a teacher. I write about writing. Sometimes I write about other things too.