The Best Advice Ignored

Writers are awesome at giving other writers advice. We’re even better at ignoring it.

For no real reason whatsoever I decided to ask the folks of the Grimdark Fiction Readers and Writers facebook group what they thought the best/favourite advice they ignore was.

For me it’s ‘write every day.’ I don’t. Not even close.

Here are their responses. This is pretty much a cut and paste job.

Scott Oden “Kill your darlings.” Hell, no, I say! Instead, I find a way to make my darlings relevant to the story.

Mark Lawrence revise revise revise

Auston Habershaw Write every day, for me, too. I’d add in the whole “finish what you write.” Generally good advice, but some drafts are such a train wreck it’s best to put them out of their misery early.

Richard F. Gallipeau Exposure bucks?! Someone on the other thread said finish the first draft completely before revising. Not only do I not write in sequence, I’ll “pre-edit” a little bit as I write the other sequences. I’m going to start trying to finish the draft as completely as possible before editing anything next chapter.

Jeff Bryantwrite every day and don’t think about world building while you are writing.

Mark Turner ‘Lay down the bones of the story first. Go back and flesh it out later.’ I can’t remember where it came from, but I always think of it when I start something, then find I’m unable to do it. Gotta add some flesh as I go. Scared I’l forget something good otherwise.

Kareem Freshpots Mahfouz Sometimes the pace needs to come down so it can build back up. Oh no’s it doesn’ts precious!!!!!

Jonathan Ashman Agree. I don’t write every day either. I write when I want to, otherwise it’s shit heh

Jake Scholl Write what you know is a limiting thing I don’t follow. Also I don’t write everyday.

Wade Garret Do you, don’t Do someone else; if I wanted to read Tolkien I would…

Dick Hitchcock “Don’t quit your day job.” Granted, I don’t actually have one, and haven’t had one in almost 4 years…

Anna Smith-Spark No one’s ever given me writing advice. They know I’d either punch them or cry.

Thomas James Clews Use less words make them tighter. I struggle with this a lot as I tend to enjoy being verbose.

Wade Garret Be a Storyteller 1st and a Writer 2nd

Quint VonCanon use as many German words and names as possible.

Matthew Summers Never revise as you go… yeah… that isn’t happening.

Charles Phipps Write in other ways than the first person.

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  • A bit of background on that advice people gave me. I was writing the Rules of Supervillainy series and they felt it would work better as an ensemble piece. I tried their advice for about a chapter and realized I absolutely hated it. You need to go with what feels comfortable to you.

  • Michael R. Fletcher

    Yes, in the end you have to go with what you’re comfortable with and what you feel works best. I would add that experimenting with other POVs and tenses is a great idea. Even if you do it the way I did, which was to write an entire novel (88) in one POV and tense only to have the publisher tell me to change them both. Still, excellent learning experience. But then that’s writer advice that I’d probably ignore.