Obvious Writing Tips

I have to say, I do find it a bit annoying at times when I see “Writing Tips” that are.. well, pretty darn obvious. I mean, the stuff you learn in 9th grade creative writing, suddenly is treated like words from Olympus. “Show, don’t tell.” If you don’t get that by the time you’re actually imagining yourself as a novelist, you really should pack it in.

At this stage of the game, we shouldn’t even be talking about passive voice, yet, I see so many sites pushing this type of obvious measure and what people really need is thoughtful ideas on just how to create vibrant, three-dimensional characters. When is it a good idea to create your own world, or stick with good ol’ planet Earth. When is it okay to break the writing rules and how often. When does first person provide the type of story that third person just cannot.

Oh, but by all means, tell us more about how we all need to start our sentences with capital letters.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Jake. I agree, so many writing tips are just that: High School English reboots. The sad thing is, with the current ebook flood on the market, such obvious tips are needed. I gave the “show don’t tell advice just recently in a critique and I myself struggle with the passive voice at times. I think a big part of the reason everyone skirts character building and story development is that these are the foundations of being a good author, and most “tips” come from editors or grammarians. Though, even Stephen King spent an entire chapter of “On Writing” discussing passive voice :-)

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I know. I’m just ranting a bit because I see so many people repeat the same things, over and over. Obviously, if your audience needs reminder, by all means, give it to them. I’m more critiquing those people who just kind of shoot that type of advice out into the ether and act like it’s some type of earth-shattering wisdom.

      As for passive voice, the trick I always use is, does the sentence have the verb “was” in it. Pretty darn good chance it’s passive voice. Additionally, many “be” verbs.. big signal. Action doesn’t just “be”. Action DOES. :)

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Jake. I agree, so many writing tips are just that: High School English reboots. The sad thing is, with the current ebook flood on the market, such obvious tips are needed. I gave the “show don’t tell advice just recently in a critique and I myself struggle with the passive voice at times. I think a big part of the reason everyone skirts character building and story development is that these are the foundations of being a good author, and most “tips” come from editors or grammarians. Though, even Stephen King spent an entire chapter of “On Writing” discussing passive voice :-)

  • http://DreamingIrisDesign.com Keri | Web Designer & Writer

    Agreed. And most of the people writing them don’t even really understand what the passive voice is. I avoid writing blogs on “Grammar Day” =) I’d love to see more in-depth posts on topics like character psychology. Cool stuff!

    • Anonymous

      Ironically, I now have to go fix a typo in my post. LOL.

      And those are good ideas, really.. some posts on character psychology.. hrrrm. ;)

  • http://DreamingIrisDesign.com Keri | Web Designer & Writer

    Agreed. And most of the people writing them don’t even really understand what the passive voice is. I avoid writing blogs on “Grammar Day” =) I’d love to see more in-depth posts on topics like character psychology. Cool stuff!