Welcome back readers! Today’s post is going to be a bit of an unusual one. Why, you may ask? Well, because of the news you’re about read, which will be followed by a shorter, micro-blast level Being a Better Writer post.
Wait! Don’t skip ahead. The news is about BaBW! The whole Summer of Cliche Writing Advice title? Yeah, that’s vitally important. You don’t want to skip that.
But it’s only half of the news you need to see today. The other half is a heads up that starting tomorrow, June 2nd, my entire lexicon will be on sale! That’s right, all my books. Well, save One Drink, but it literally cannot go any lower in its price. That one’s beyond my control.
But the rest of my library can match it. Starting tomorrow, Dead Silver and Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection will both be 99 cents alongside their old sibling.
What of Colony and Shadow of an Empire? 67% off and 50% off, respectively. Grabbing all 1500 pages of Colony‘s 4.5 star-rated adventure will set you back a bare $1.99. And Shadow of an Empire, the wild-west Fantasy Epic? $3.99.
In other words, you can pick up every book I’ve ever written for less than ten bucks. Just in time to start catching up before Jungle arrives in a few months, too.
The Independence Day Weekend Sale is live from July 2nd through July 8th. That’s right, all through the 4th of July weekend! So it’s time to fill out that collection and detonate a bunch of fireworks!
So, that’s the Independence Day Weekend Sale (it’s an extended weekend, don’t look at me like that)! Now, what about this Summer of Cliche Writing Advice thing mentioned in the title that you really need to hear about?
Well, this summer, Being a Better Writer is going to have a special theme: Cliche writing advice. And I want you readers to submit it!
Simply put, have you ever heard any cliche writing advice? Something that’s short and pithy and sort of correct but not entirely? Like “always show the monster last” or “show, don’t tell?”
You know, the kind of thing that comes out of the woodwork the moment anyone says they’re thinking of writing a book or working on a short story. The kind of stuff people who are not writers can repeat in quick sound bites to sound knowledgeable.
There’s a plethora of this stuff out there. In fact, that’s what gave me the idea of doing a themed BaBW series for the summer. A writing chat I hang out on was discussing how a lot of this advice is fairly pithy and usually weak … but contained a grain of truth.
“Show the monster last” for example. There are actually some circumstances where this statement makes sense. There’s a line of logic to it. But the problem is that, like many sayings, the actual context around it has been lost over time, and what we’re left with is a single, short line that doesn’t have any of that context and suddenly can be just as unhelpful as it is helpful. After all, there are plenty of instances where you won’t want to show the monster last.
But small, short tidbits that people can spout off in a heartbeat lack the flexibility for that insight. And far too many people take them as absolute rules rather than what they stemmed from originally: Advice for certain situations, or part of a set of guidelines for achieving a specific result in your work. Which, in the end, can do far more harm than it can good. Even if the intentions of the one offering the advice were good.
Which is where you come in, readers. Next week will be the first Summer of Cliche Writing Advice article for BaBW. But before I can get started, I want to hear from you. I want to know what cliche writing advice you’ve had tossed at you. What token phrases or bundles of vague advice have you heard, been given, or forced to sit through?
Comment! Let me know! Gather up all those bits of single-sentence writing advice that’s tossed out like it’s the solution to all your woes and put them in the comments! I want to hear them! And then dissect them, and talk about them in their own posts!
That’s right! The goal of this upcoming theme is to take these sayings of common advice and break them down. Because there is good advice buried in there at times. Just like with many common sayings where the original intent has been lost or misconstrued by virtue of being broken down into a single sentence.
So we’re going to flip that. The Summer of Cliche Writing advice will start next week, but it needs your cliche advice you’ve heard, read, or been told in order to get going.
So comment away! Post those one-line bits of advice you’ve had tossed at you by friends, family, or maybe even teachers! Let’s break these down and see about building and expanding them into some real material that’ll help you improve!
So get commenting and let’s fill this summer!
And now, at last, and before I go, a small Being a Better Writer post for the upcoming holiday: Relaxation.
Look, here’s the thing: Writing is hard work. Even when it’s fun, it’s still exertion. Think of it like any other form of work. Whether mental or physical, all jobs take a toll. And if writing is your job, you need to relax sometimes.
Not all the time. Don’t make that mistake. But if you’ve hit your quotas for the week, and are on top of things … Sure, you can sit down and take a moment for you. To relax. To let your brain decompile. Without even making relaxation “work” (which I have done before).
Sometimes, it’s okay to just relax for a little bit. Listen to something we like, maybe watch something silly. Whatever you want to do that equates to just unpacking everything you’ve worked on and letting that tension go.
Maybe switch it up. Do a chore at a relaxed pace. Or watch a funny video. Whatever keeps your mind sharp and at the top of its game.
Work hard, but don’t forget to take some time for you.
Good luck. Now get to it.