Have you ever googled how to be a better writer? 75,400,000 results come back. Over 75,000 websites devoted to teaching people to be better writers. I started looking through the writing boards in Pinterest, which is an overwhelming task itself, and started noticing that every single one of them contradicted each other.
Some tell you said is dead, some say only use said cause everything else makes it too complicated. Some will tell you keep it simple, others say readers enjoy the little details. I’ve read some things saying write things like “he replied sadly” and others that say you need to convey your characters emotions. Some people think if it doesn’t progress the story than don’t leave it in, but I’m currently listening to an audio book of a series that has been going on since 1990 and she spent a good chunk of time having a minor character describe why a certain throat lozenges will actually dry out a singer’s throat. That has nothing to do with the story, it is a forensic mystery and there are no singers. .
The problem with the internet is everyone has an opinion (funny coming from a blogger I know) and can easily pretend to be an expert.
Who do we trust? Which rules do we follow? Why are there so many? I DON’T KNOW!
I personally don’t follow any of them, not intentionally at least. I like my writing to flow naturally, because I like to free-write. I feel like my writing is better when I don’t sit and over-think it.
As an avid Fan fiction reader, that is something I see constantly. It is incredibly obvious when a writer is overly complicating things in an effort to sound more intelligent or follow these crazy rules. It doesn’t feel natural, it comes across as clunky and awkward. Sometimes it makes it difficult to get through a story.
Please don’t mistake what I am saying as an excuse to not improve upon your skills. Everyone can always get better, take a class or even read online about tips. Just don’t take everything as gospel. Find which rules make sense to you, what feels right and your writing will already improve. Don’t make it so hard on yourself.
There is only one writing rule I absolutely buy into:
Because the less you over-think everything, the more risks you will take as a writer. If you are free of inhibitions you will have less hang-ups and your writing will be more honest. Maybe you don’t actually have to be drunk, but get to a place where the writing out freely and honest. Just write. Don’t get too stuck on what or how you should write, just write. Just write.