On Writing Advice


One of the reasons I love advice that tells you WHY you should do it (instead of do x, y, or z) is because one size fits all in story is the same as one size fits all in clothing. Yes, it will fit, but it won’t fit well. Something made to fit everybody, which is what most writing advice has to be contoured for, will fit everybody poorly. 

Take 3 act structure

It describes everything in general and so will do very little to specifically describe pieces of your specific story. This is the mannequin of story. It looks like what it is supposed to look like, to display what it needs to display, and will convince absolutely no one that it actually is what it is pretending to be.

We is stylish humans like you.

So whenever you get story advice, part of your job as a writer is going to be examining it and making sure that it works for you. Which is hard, to say the least. It’s part of the reason that the majority of your writing education is going to be simply writing and writing and writing.

It’s to build up your experience and personal knowledge of your own unique storytelling quirks, so you know what works and what doesn’t specifically for you. And to see how advice works out in action. 

Unless the person giving you advice is BOTH experienced in their craft and giving their advice directly and personally to you about your story, we’re giving you that mannequin up there. A blunt tool that generally describes the agreed upon shape. But note how poor a job it does of depicting the model Tess Holliday.

Who actually has the job that the mannequin’s are faking. 

So extrapolate. Picture what you are going for in reality rather than the principle. And learn what it can teach you and what it can’t.

I 2 is sexy model on catwalk.

Something very generalized that you will have to tailor to yourself instead of tailoring yourself to it. Tailoring yourself to it, which is too often accidentally encouraged, will have you creating things that utterly fail to live and you won’t get why it is so wooden if you keep going back to advice / rules as gospel rather than as a vague template for you to alter to your own needs. 


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