Some Really Bad Writing Advice

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve read this sentence:

Swimming lesson. Not.The best way to learn writing is to write.

It comes mostly from pantsers who don’t want to learn story structure, who think it’s a straightjacket for producing formulaic pablum and they want no part of it.

When my middle daughter graduated from high school she wanted to write songs. We got her a small keyboard and I offered to give her lessons.

“No, that’s okay. I know what I’m doing.”

She was echoing what I’ve heard dozens of songwriters say: “Learning music theory will destroy my spontaneous creativity.”

Really? So you’re saying that me and Mozart and Dylan and Donald Fagen are drudges? I’m not the genius those three are, but I write better songs because I learned music theory, not in spite of it. Listen to Donald Fagen talk about composing the Steely Dan song Peg:

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Learning in Public: Taking Out the Trash?

egg shell photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1153431 by Szabolcs Sáfár http://www.sxc.hu/profile/SafiOne (possibly valid) complaint made by proponents of traditional publishing about the glut of independently published books is that it appears some folks are using independent publishing for on the job training. I know my first mystery wasn’t the quality I dream of writing your someday.

Writers hate wasting words. Each syllable is like a miniature birth. Despite the validity of Quiller-Couch’s advice, we hate to murder our darlings.

No chef wants to waste food. Ah, but cooking always involves waste: egg shells, apple cores, melon rinds, coffee grounds.
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