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Allen Guthrie's Infamous Writing Tips

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Rinji

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Thank you from sharing these tips and I am looking forward to using them as I work on writing.
 

Vanir

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Great advice, but probably suited for when you edit? I mean I know I have the problem with my inner editor getting in the way of writing as it is.
 

mickws

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Fantastic tips. I'm looking forward to breaking them, then slowly going back over my work and fixing them :)

At this very early stage of my writing, I'm increedibly guilty of easing every scene in. I need to learn to mix them up and start some right in the heart of the action.
 

Ramsay

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I recently read Stephen King's book On Writing, and he hammered those poor adverbs/adjectives. The majority of them are unnecessary, he said, and they are actually detrimental to the reader. You want the reader to imagine the scenes in their head. Let them picture how the characters are moving, talking, etc. Then the reader "owns" the story and it becomes more personal to them. If you're doing your job and writing well enough, especially the dialogue, the reader shouldn't have a problem with this.
 

Cody Lane

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I recently read Stephen King's book On Writing, and he hammered those poor adverbs/adjectives. The majority of them are unnecessary, he said, and they are actually detrimental to the reader. You want the reader to imagine the scenes in their head. Let them picture how the characters are moving, talking, etc. Then the reader "owns" the story and it becomes more personal to them. If you're doing your job and writing well enough, especially the dialogue, the reader shouldn't have a problem with this.

I love that book. My favorite part is when he's discussing the unnecessary replacement of "said" as well as the addition of adverbs to them. Now unless I see words like shouted, cried out, or whispered, I shake my head a little. Said really is an invisible word, and just flows well.
 

Ringading

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I really liked the "use other senses advice". Very few books do this but I find that those that do, really draw me in more. Thank you!
 

Ringading

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I really liked the tips about using other senses. Very few books manage this well, but those that do often draw me into their world better than the others. Thank you!
 

CCLane

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so much to learn....,loved this...my first read in here. Thx!
 

Cathryn

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I am pleased this thread is still active because the advice is good. If you own the rule then you know best when and for what purpose to let it slide. I think they call that power.

I am bewildered by the confusion about # 30. Clearly a warning not to get lazy with pronouns and end up saying something you do not mean. And I think the example is worthy. If I am reading a killing scene and get the picture of the killer stabbing the victim with a sheath I'm going to start laughing and the author has lost credibility.

Should the author of said sentence win foreign publication rights then each instance of "you know what I meant" becomes a nightmare in 20 different languages.
 

DanLett

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Challenge: commit all of these errors in the shortest possible passage of writing (excluding the ones that pertain to whole texts, such as 26 & 31).
 

M. D. Ireman

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I really, really just absolutely love this comprehensive and complete list of such great, wonderfully essential writing tips. :D

In all seriousness though, with the inclusion of #32, this is a perfect list, and I still peek at it from time to time to refresh.
 

elmtree

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Brilliant and much appreciated, thank you for sharing.
Not mentioned in the list but a good idea is to read your work out loud. I've found that helps.
 

SCUBABry

The day job is the my antagonist...
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Just found this! Great for not only my novel, but a lot of these rules apply to the non-fiction I write for my day job (trying to forget I have one). I especially like the rule about not assuming your readers are psychic. A lot of new non-fiction writers tend to fall into this trap. If I write something I sent it off to someone who has no knowledge on the topic. If they don't get it...then it is back to the keyboard!

Thanks for the post!
 

KaseetaKen

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I made a copy of this list and named it "Editing Rubric." I will use it extensively on all my editing work. Thank you very much.

KK
 

Lizzie7800

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I went through my novel to search for adverbs...1800 -ly words. Whoops! Took me almost 10 hours to go back and fix, but I definitely (sorry, can't help myself!!) think it's better now. Also took out all the "justs". Thank you for the tips!
 

kdaniel171

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Amazing list! Thank you for the tips, very helpful and to the point. My favourite one is about "dirtying up" your writing. It's really difficult but absolutely necessary to keep yourself invisible while crafting the story, and I'm working on this.
 

Bmann

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I have to ask why are adverbs avoided like the plague? I've read a lot of opinions about them and I agree with most of them. Lord knows my manuscript is littered with them( which I'm correcting ). But sometimes at least in my opinion they seem to work for some sentences. Maybe thats just my amateurish showing through :D
 
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Natasitsa

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Some of the greatest writing tips I have ever read. Excellent advice!
 

Tsu Dho Nimh

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9: Describe the environment in ways that are pertinent to the story.

The mystery writer John D McDonald was great at this. His paranoia-driven "salvage consultant" hero was always checking out rooms looking for good places to take cover in a gun battle, and evaluating people's clothing for clues about their ability to pay, or not pay.
 

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