04 October 2011

Writing Advice

I've found that I've needed a lot of hand holding throughout my attempts at writing, and for this I have always turned to the internet.

In the beginning, I absorbed every piece of information was thrown back by Google, but now I've got to the point where I've grown tired of reading it.

I hope I'm not the only one that sometimes forgets that it is just advice, not rules to follow. 

A million different posts have told me that the key to a successful story is having a likeable protagonist. I don't agree with that. Some of my favourite stories haven't had likeable main characters, just compelling ones. And that for me is the most important thing. I can't stop reading about them because they're just so interesting.

Dr. House from House is the perfect example of this. The whole reason (in my opinion) behind the success of the series is because he's such an interesting character. He's not the typical, constantly positive, smiling doctor that we expect, but a grumpy, crotchety old man who's only selling points are the fact that he's incredibly witty and sardonic and brilliant at his job. He wasn't written to be likeable, but that's okay, because it works.

That's not to say that all of the advice that I've got is bad, a lot of it in fact makes perfect sense. The first example that comes to mind is this advice about creating characters from Mystery Writing Is Murder. It's one of the first posts that made it obvious to me that just because you know everything about your character, doesn't mean that the reader needs to know it all too. In fact, it's probably better that they don't.

Though the advice I would rather not have followed but stupidly did, was the age old adage that you can't force creativity. Pah. Lord knows how much time I've wasted not writing when I had the opportunity just because I didn't feel inspired. By all means, take advantage of when it strikes, but you've got to chug through when you don't, no matter what they say, because otherwise nothing will ever get done.

And that doesn't just apply to writing. Oh sorry, Boss - I was late for the deadline because I wasn't inspired.
Like that would work. So why did I read so often? It makes no sense to me.

There are an infinite number of writing blogs out there, but that doesn't mean that they know what they're preaching about. And what works for them might not work for you.
I suppose you just have to take everything with a pinch of salt.

How about you? Have you ever listened to advice that turned out to be absolute rubbish? I'd love to know!

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