Being a Better Writer’s Summer of Cliche Writing Advice: Read a Book

Welcome readers, to another installment of Being a Better Writer’s Summer of Cliche Writing Advice! We are rolling right along and into week six of this feature, and the cliche advice just keeps coming.

Okay, really quick let’s have a brief aside here for the new folks who haven’t encountered Being a Better Writer or the Summer of Cliche Writing Advice before. What on Earth is this?

Pretty straightforward, really. The Summer of Cliche Writing Advice is a feature running this summer on Being a Better Writer. BaBW, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like on the tin. It’s a weekly dose of writing advice on a variety of topics, from pacing, to plotting, to character development (sorry, had to break the alliteration there). Running every Monday save holidays for almost six years now, it totals hundreds of articles to browse through and learn from.

The Summer of Cliche Writing Advice, on the other hand, is a special temporary feature. If you’ve ever told someone that you’re writing a book, or even thinking about it, you’ve doubtlessly had the experience of “Oh, well be sure you do …” followed by some bit of quick, cliche advice that seems to follow writers like a lawyer follows an ambulance. Even if it’s your second, or third, or twelfth book, you’re practically guaranteed to have one of this cliche sayings tossed at you, usually from folks that have never written anything, but they heard it somewhere. Sands, my part-time job did a book launch for a world-famous author a year or so ago, and I would fully expect that had anyone in the office talked with them, they would have immediately started spouting off this sort of advice.

It’s pervasive. It’s everywhere. Social media, random conversations. If you announce you’re writing, you’re going to hear something like “Oh, show don’t tell,” “nothing new under the sun,” or “kill your darlings.”

So here’s what the Summer of Cliche Writing Advice is all about answering: Are any of these sayings actually useful? Because one of the problems with one-line, easily repeated advice is that over time it can come to mean the opposite of what the original saying went for. It either loses context, meaning … or maybe it doesn’t?

That’s the trick. With all these easily and oft-repeated sayings out there, how do we know which ones are worth paying attention to and which ones aren’t? Are they all good? All bad? Somewhere in the middle? Well, the Summer of Cliche Writing Advice is here to answer that question as we tackle saying after saying, digging into it, seeing what makes it tick, and how much of it is really worth paying attention to. And as for this week?

Want to be a writer? Read a Book.

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The Price We Pay – Are Book Prices too Much?

Honestly, I was going to hold off on a second post this week until Thursday (I’m blitzing through edits on Jungle right now) but this post had already been on my mind, and then a discussion yesterday online regarding MacMillan’s continued crusade against libraries basically poured gasoline over the spark and, well … Here we are.

Look, something that I see brought up constantly online, including in the very post that kicked this whole chain of thoughts off, is the price of books. It’s a hot topic anywhere. There are a lot of people who see them as too expensive, to overpriced, whether digital or not.

And you know what? I think they’re wrong.

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Never Stop Working (Even in a Drought)

Hey readers! Max here with, well, just a sort of general catch-all update post to yap about stuff with. Tomorrow I might have one of those interesting topical ones, like last week’s set of posts on MacMillan’s burning of their own market, but for today I just don’t have the time because I picked up an extra work shift and I need to get some editing done.

So this is going to be one of those news summary posts that goes over all my current projects and keeps you all appraised as to what’s going on with each one of them. Now, it’s easy to see from the stats I have on posts like these that they aren’t as popular as other posts … but hey, that’s drama-free news for you. And some of you do read these, which means you like being informed about my progress and what I’ve been up to. Plus, I like writing them because, well, lets face it, a long period of time can pass in writing without you readers seeing much coming of it until a book pops out of ether, and this does show that “Yes, I’m accountable for these projects, here’s how they’re going, etc, etc.” Which I think you guys like.

So, the quick of it? Yesterday I added about 5500 words to my quota, between editing on Jungle and writing. Then I’m writing today before taking an extra work shift, and well … Basically I’m keeping super busy guys. Good old 10-12 hour days are back again.

With that said, let’s get to the talking about what I’m doing with all that work, starting with Axtara: Banking and Finance.

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News Post!

Okay guys, it’s time for a news post! Your update on all things Max Florschutz! Regarding writing-related things, anyway.

Okay, first up, the elephant in the room. Or should I say, in the Jungle? Yeah, it’s time we talk about how the Jungle Alpha is coming along.


Quite well, actually. Currently half of the Alpha Readers have already finished it, and I’m on track to move it into Beta in August. Which means … still on track for that early fall release. Unless something wild comes up. There’s still a chance that there could be a wildcard out there somewhere.

But the Alpha has also said good things for Jungle so far. The other day I had the pleasure of waking up to an e-mail in my inbox that basically said ‘AAAAAAHHH! I just hit X plot point and I’m freaking out!’

Obviously that’s not what they said exactly. For starters, the “AAHHH!” was a lot bigger and longer. And the rest of the message would involve major spoilers that you’re just going to have to read to find out.

With the Alpha moving along to, I can also give you guys a much more concrete word count. Even though there is going to be some more trimming here and there, it’s not a large amount. Which means that moving into Beta, Jungle is likely going to be around 450,000 words.

For the record, Colony was 334,000 words. Jungle is a third again as long as Colony. Conversely, Colony is 3/4 the length of Jungle.

How does this stack up against other popular books? Well, Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings was around 387,000 words. The Lord of the Rings (all three books) was about 473,000. A Game of Thrones was 298,000 words.

Yeah, Jungle is thick. But packed. Seriously, this is one ride you’re not going to want to miss.

Speaking of which, while Colony isn’t as long as Jungle is, it’s still a behemoth. Which means if you were waiting for Jungle to get close to pick up Colony and finally start the adventure, now would be a good time to get started! You can grab it here!

Now, on to more news!

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The Escalation of the Advertising Game

So I came across something interesting in my feeds the other day. This one on a Facebook feed. Facebook, for those of you who don’t use it, is a social networking site ostensibly about linking you up with friends and family to share pictures and goings on, but really more about collecting and selling your data while funneling ads at you (I get, on average, about one message or e-mail a day from them urging me to give them money to advertise this website). So, if you’re like me and attempting to use to to keep up with the goings-on of friends and family, that means that you end up seeing a lot of ads.

One of these ads I usually shoot by caught my eye, because it was a Science-Fiction movie trailer. Which you’d think Facebook would have figured out is the kind of ad I don’t mind seeing, but with their usual “show them how to think” mantra, most of the movie ads I see tend to be for films my interest rating is around zero in.

I digress. So hey, Sci-Fi movie ad! I’m game! So I started watching it. It looked a little low budget, and I don’t recognize any of the actors … But I’m not very in tune with Hollywood stars anyway (save a few) and it could be a SyFy flick.

Plot sounded … interesting. Not super attention grabbing, but at least decently interesting. A spin on the “last man” trope, one of those stories that opens after everything has fallen apart and the survivors have picked up the pieces, only to have someone come along and disturb the apple cart again. You know, familiar enough, but constantly on the rebound because it is a solid trope.

So I’m watching people run with desperate looks on their faces, shadowy figures raise guns, etc … and the accolades start popping up on screen. You know, the kind of thing where critics who have seen the film already or been given previews deliver quotes to make you excited for the film?

Except … these weren’t film critics. And my brain did a sudden, jarring “Wait, what?”

They were book reviewers. I wasn’t watching a movie trailer. I was watching a live-action trailer … for a book.

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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

And if you’re Great Britain, well no hard feelings. I think we made up for it during WWII.

Jokes aside, I hope you all have a fantastic Independence Day, and find something to celebrate for. Me and mine? We’re going to marathon season 3 of Stranger Things. That’s not a plug or anything. We’re just really excited for season 3.

What is a plug is a reminder not to forget the big 4th of July sale on all my books. Sorry, had to say it. And for those of you in countries where the deal hasn’t started yet, sorry about that, it’ll start for you on the 5th, because … You know, I’m not really sure. Regional differences?

Anyway, all you people have a great 4th of July!

The Independence Day Weekend Sale is Live!

Hey readers, just a quick heads up and plug: If you’re a fan of my writing, be it on the site, or the fanfiction I’ve written, or you’ve picked up one of my books, and you’re interested in reading more, well … Have I got news for you! The Independence Day Weekend Sale is live reader! Live!

How live? How about “You can grab every book I’ve ever written for nine bucks!? Yeah, it’s that live.

Colony, my biggest hit? $2. Yeah. Two measly dollars. For 1500 or so pages of mystery, discovery, and of course, insane action!

Shadow of an Empirethe Wild-West Fantasy Epic? 50% off. $4. Yeah, for a thousand pages of horseback chases, mystery, action (because both of those are givens), and magic across a sweeping desert!

Unusual Events? 99 cents. Dead Silver? 99 cents. One Drink? 99 cents.

So yeah, nine dollars nets you it all.

Sale extends through this week until next Monday! Don’t miss it!