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Found 14 results

  1. It's like acid rain. It never ceases to scar, harm the environment, and ruin vacations. We're talking about bad writer advice, of course (btw, see our first article on this subject). While perusing several collections of "Worst Writer Advice" found sprouting like toxic tulips after a simple Google search (most of it authored by insufferable rank amateurs working for the ad-driven content industry, and who wisely appear between ages 12 and 17), I found the various fallacies and idiocies about novel writing contained therein to be worth pointing out. Much of it was r
  2. Have you ever been in writer workshops and reacted to criticism of your writing or story by demanding the other writer defend their decision in such detail that it served your purpose of making certain they never gave you unfavorable critique again? Hell hath no fury like a thin-skinned narcissist with a needy manuscript... But wait! Could you be one of them? In case you're not sure if your skin qualifies, Algonkian psychologists have developed a few skin test questions below. Feel free to respond honestly to yourself as you read each one. Everyone wishes to avoid time-wasting
  3. Here we have one of the darling fairy children of Reedsy teaching us how to just slap down that blank page and type out a marketable novel outline in no time flat! Miracle of miracles. I never knew it could be this easy!
  4. DISCLAIMER: if you believe you are part of a fruitful writer group, Godspeed you. Most likely you are not, but it's a social distraction at least. Regardless, please consider the information below as being useful for reality checking your situation both now and in the future. If any of this rings true for you, you are advised to beware, especially if you are serious about writing a publishable novel. "Traditional critique groups are looking at a work the size of a skyscraper with a magnifying glass. They lack the perceptual distance to see flaws." Before we read my own d
  5. In the topic thread below you will find several responses by veteran writers and authors critical of Stephen King's personal opinions regarding plotting, and further reaction to his disparaging of authors who themselves utilize plot and story planning techniques (for example, J.K. Rowling). We here at Algonkian Author Connect believe the dialogue concerning this issue is important, especially for writers relatively new to novel writing. Feel free to contact us with any thoughts you might have. Thank you.
  6. A Chris Stewart Classic from "Novel Writing on Edge." I recently ran across an article in The Guardian, where authors were asked for their personal dos and don’ts. There was no indication of how or why certain writers were chosen and most of it is repetitious drivel, but let’s go through the first bunch and have some fun, and in my next post we’ll take on a sort of companion article in Salon, about readers’ advice to writers. Here we go, starting off positive, with an open mind: Big Yes! to Elmore Leonard’s rules about ‘said’ and adverbs. Been guilty of both transgressions
  7. Isabelle Allende says writing technique, e.g. suspense, cannot be taught. The faculty at Algonkian say NONSENSE. Is Isabelle wrong? Or does she know something we don't? Actually, she doesn't. I realize we're supposed to bow down before her god-ness... only just can't do it. She's a great writer, sure, no question, but that doesn't mean she's intellectually infallible. Unfortunately, her viewpoint isn't unique. But who does it serve? Quite suddenly, we find ourselves face down and gasping for air in the dank pond of Iowa mantra: WRITING CANNOT BE TAUGHT. If Iowa's mantra possess
  8. While this video is based on helping people write a novel, or to at least be happier while trying, I have to confess that I did not feel happier after watching this. The overall tone did not make me want to run to my keyboard and start working on a new manuscript (forget that I’m already at it typing this post). On the contrary, I kind of got depressed. [MORE BELOW]
  9. OUTSIDE OF NARCISSISM, IMPATIENCE AND BAD ADVICE ARE A WRITER'S WORST ENEMIES. If you ever attend writer events, you will never cease to hear utterances of bad writing advice, the popular kind that circulate like ruinous viral memes through the nervous systems of America's aborning novel writers. And each time you are exposed, you either chuckle or swear, depending on your mood and the circumstance. You might make a daring attempt to kill the meme in its tracks before it can infect someone else, or you might just stare at the writer with a dumbfounded look and ask, "Where the
  10. Following a desultory lurch into relevancy on the part of the panel, one poor neophyte stood and asked the assembled if he should worry about his novel title before becoming published. Did it really matter? He'd received way too many opinions and desired a final tiebreaker. And the consensus answer? Don't worry about your title Huh? Not long ago, I attended a panel at a mega-large writer conference. It consisted of authors who had recently been published (small presses, mainstream imprints, e-presses). There were about 150 people in the room. Following a desultory lurch into rel
  11. Many years ago I stumbled upon a Sydney Sheldon book on the rack at a local grocery store. I picked it up, read a bit, and said to myself: I can write better with my eyes closed. Well, hyperbole or no, there was some truth in that statement. Most likely, the work was not written by Sheldon at all, but some hack ghost brought in by the publisher to poorly imitate Sheldon. Sound implausible? Not at all. Lots of big names are "hyperbranded" these days, i.e., they don't write their own stuff. They are a brand. Others write for them and the original authors simply wave a hand in approval, or nod th
  12. A question that comes up time and time again in workshops and with editorial clients, and it's always difficult to answer. Ultimately, the publication of bad novels, i.e., novels in any given genre deemed poorly written by any reasonable reader of that genre, is certainly not the fault of the reader, but of those involved in the actual publication process, from agent to publisher. How can it not be? Can one blame the gods or the stars in this matter? After working with scores of agents, I've met a few who really don't have a clue what makes for a good story. Ok, so let's just assume th
  13. Are "brutal" reviewers really good for you? So what spurred this question? A friend recently said she had a "brutal critique partner" that could be relied on. It got me to thinking about brutal reviewers in my own experience who were worse than useless and actually destructive. We need to keep in mind that the better an ms becomes, the harder such "brutal" critics are forced to dig for critique at all costs, inevitably focusing on matters of taste, e.g, "I don't like that character's personality..." as opposed to "I think this point could be made clearer by doing XYZ." You could put 10
  14. Though the blurb below was published in The Onion, it is nonetheless a good jumping off point for discussing how creative writing instructors or mentors should approach students whose stories or prose need extra help: "CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - In an effort to help his students develop inaccurate perceptions of their talents, University of Virginia creative writing professor Alan Erickson told reporters Monday that he takes the time to provide each and every one of them with personalized false hope. "Every student is different, and even though there may be 30 of them per class, I feel it's im
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