12 Bad Writing Tips New Writers Give Each Other

Wow, that's, that's, stunning. I got some similar bad advice, on another site, when I first started out. I learned, over the course of time, whose advice I could trust and whose I couldn't. Rookies might have the best of intentions but, well you know, they're rookies.
Excellent read, with a lot of valuable information. I've heard a few of these from time to time, but luckily I think the only one I've ever caught myself doing is the overuse of 'was', which is a fairly common mistake.

And that video she mentioned about narration with Nick Offerman is genius.
I've heard a few of these. The one I keep seeing over and over again is #6 the use of creative tags. I admit, I used to do this myself. One member of our local NaNo group posted this on our group's FB page. She was trying to be helpful. But fortunately, several of us put her on the right track... kindly, of course.

I recently also had trouble with #8 internal monologue. Fortunately, someone put me on the right track.
Never come across any of those myself. Writing shouldn't have rules anyway. To be commercial and popular you may need to follow certain rules, but if you write because you enjoy it do what you want. Creativity often progresses the most by eschewing or ignoring rules and just doing what feels right
I suppose it could be helpful to very green writers, but I think the whole blog is just made up to have something to blog about. Where is the data to support that 'new writers' - whoever and whatever they are - say these things to others?


Yeah, never come across any of these as advice. They seem a bit fake. So this seems to me to be a fake list of fake writing rules. :D

The last one - about reading other fiction while writing - I used to worry about, but I think I used that as motivation to get that dreaded first draft done. Now I don't see what the problem is :p. I don't think I ever suggested to anyone else that they should do that. (Possibly buried away somewhere in a post here on the site I contradict myself - if so I shall give my younger self a stern talking to.)
Funny you mention reading whilst writing; for the last two years I've only done reasearch reading instead of fiction and it's hobbled me, for sure.

But, thanks to @ratsy abd the generous gift he sent me today, I'm now ten pages into The Fisherman. Which I am totally enrapt in.

Go fake lists! Go reading! Go ratsy!


There was a time when I was seeing a list of writing rules/tips/etc.etc. pretty much every day. They're common on Facebook. Most of them are, if not utter crap, then distractions. That said, 6 and 12 are the only ones I've seen a lot of but I'm not going to doubt her if she says she's seen the others.

This is why I stick to Chrons and a few other forums where the advice is mostly non-prescriptive and tailored to what people are saying and doing.
#8 is the only one I personally encountered. I think even newbies are clear of most of those. Aside from the specific list, though, the larger point of newbies inadvertently damaging one another is an important one. The Dunning-Kruger effect is a very fascinating phenomenon, and I think it has ramifications in critique/workshop groups especially among novice writers.

In an effort to be helpful to my peers, I gave a lot of advice when I first started that was probably bad advice. Or maybe better described as, the wrong solution to a misunderstood problem.

D-K makes it hard for people to evaluate their own capabilities, so the less qualified round up while the more qualified round down. I've since learned the best way to avoid miscalculating my own skills is to just leave them aside... Instead I focus on how parts of a piece make me feel or what they make me think, rather than giving actual prescriptions on what should be changed and why.

Hope that didn't go to tangential...
I think that list is okay and had a couple things of merit, but meh. I do notice I have some words I over use and make a conscious effort to stop when my fingers take over from my brain.

I read all the time, and never stop when writing. Reading is my passion, and writing stems from that. Stories. I need them. Horror, Thriller, Fantasy, SciFi... I need them all, and refuse to not read while I write (not at the same moment granted) I need to be inspired. Life can be inspiring, but the majority of the time I go to work...go home...walk my dog, watch TV I hate, complaining no shows are as good as books.

I did used to have a hard time with contractions, but that is gone. I have beat it out of myself through painful early betas. I had to do the readers a favor!

Phyre, I'm glad you are getting into it. I hope it inspires you, and gives you some fresh cranial movements for your writing.
Outstanding articles. The 12 bad tips and the linked 10 things your opening chapter should share. Kudos!
Only one I don't agree with is ditching the prologue.

When done well a prologue can be a good introduction to the world, or a way to setup a hook for the reader and you as the writer to find out what happens to the story and how that prologue links back to itself in the pages later on in the story.

I don't always use prologues, but I don't mind them in a book.
I thought the not using italics was interesting as I've seen many sci fi writers do it (I think I remember Ian M. Banks as one). But it's easy to implement the change.
98% of that advice sounds like the advice I got from experts from the gulag.

Hilariously I stomped on a few toes showing how nearly everybody published in the last 120 years broke thier rules or advice as they called it. Yes I can confirm I have books 120 years old I also have one from the 1700's but it's on religion.

I feel writing is something that must be natural. But most people try to shoe horn generic blanket rules.

I even had people attack me for writing in the first person. Now those were some fighting words.:mad:
All of these pieces of advice can be accepted or ignored, in my opinion.

1. Subjective and depends entirely on what the writer wants and / or what the audience wants / expects.

2. I love prologues. Grew up on them. If an agent or publisher refuses my book because of the prologue, I don't want them anyway.

3. Probably sound advice.

5. I've had some people tell me to absolutely not use contractions. I use them now. It makes the writing super formal otherwise. To each their own.

6. Ditto.

7. That actually is good. Head hopping is super annoying and I will not read a book that does it. It just gets too freaking confusing.

8. For many stories, the whole book is internal monologue from the character. Expressing something in italics, though, can express a single cogent thought. I imagine most people talking to themselves in full sentences from time to time, so that's understandable.

9. Not sure what to think of this one. I'm a bit defensive suddenly because I almost always write in what I believe to be cogent sentences that stand on their own.

10. I was not sure about this one. ;) I do use this word too much, though, along with "were." I tend to err on the passive side. I write, I guess, in a slightly formal and scientific manner. That's where my passivity sometimes comes through.

12. That would be bad advice.

For the most part I like her blog though.
Ah I thought from the thread title we were going to recount sh*tty writing advice we'd been given and wish to burn at the stake.

My vote is for "write what you know" :D

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