Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"The Rules" of Writing - Lee Child's Advice

I read a really great article today which got me to thinking. In this article, Lee Child dispenses healthy, common sense advice about a publishing career.

Although I liked how he pointed out how to be a gracious professional, what stood out to me was his dismissal about the 'writing rules'. How many times have I, or my critiquers, used "show, don't tell" to explain something? Were we 'right', or were we trampling on the writer's story? Now it has me wondering.

And the bottom line:
“It’s a long game. It will look bad on plenty of days, but hang in there, keep showing up and see where you are in 10 years.”

This is something I've been meditating on for the past few weeks. There are so many writers I see lathering at the bit to make their stuff go-go-go in the fastest way possible - always reading a how-to book or needing a critique partner to evaluate their work. And yet, as this shows, sometimes that can backfire in the writing process.

I'm not saying either of these are useless, but they're tools which must be used with care. Care and a deeper understanding of how you as a writer write.

1 comment:

Loren Gruber said...

"How to" books ate outlines, skeletons if you will. We are skeletons with eyes, brains, hearts, with unique sense, sensibility, skin.

Some tell to draw others in and direct. Some show to let others savor.

I prefer to feel my way to nurture my characters'--and students'--voices.