Sunday, May 5, 2013

Writing Advice.

After my last post about teaching writing skills to high school students, a couple of people asked me why I never give tips and advice here since this is basically a writing blog. You know, characterisation, setting, dialogue, all that stuff.

I'm pretty sure I've written about this before, but I'll explain once again.

I don't feel qualified to advise others how to write since I see myself as a new writer. How can I teach other writers when I'm not yet selling to pro-level markets? There are plenty of other sites with experienced writers offering advice. This blog is not really a site for me to teach, but a place for me to share my writing experiences, stuff that happens in my life, and pretty much anything else that pops into my head.

Recently I read of a writers' workshop being conducted by someone who was working on their first novel. First novel? You mean this person is no more experienced than the potential attendees? And that is not an unusual case. I wouldn't sign up for that workshop. When I learn, I want to learn from someone who knows what they are talking about and have a proven track record. This week I've deliberately checked out a few blogs featuring posts with advice and lessons on writing. And then I made a point of reading work by some of these little-known but well-meaning folk. Unfortunately, the stories I read were pretty poor. Which, I believe, pretty much proves my point.

Over on the right side of this page there is actually a link to a page of my 'writing rules', for want of a better term. These came about because someone asked me what I thought of Heinlein's rules, and would I clarify by devising my own. I prefer to think of them less as 'rules and guides', and more like 'hints and suggestions that really might only apply to me'. I believe you should basically steal whatever suits you from others and formulate your own rules.

My only other advice to a writer would be to take a workshop, sign up for a course, get critiqued - but as I always advise parents who ask me about finding a tutor for their child, check the credentials of the person teaching.

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