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Interesting article on writing

Switch Blayde

https://mystorydoctor.com/ten-reasons-why-ill-quickly-reject-your-story/

"Ten Reasons Why I'll Quickly Reject Your Story"

There's something on "implied information" in #6 that some might find interesting. There's a reference to "stood" vs "stood up." Here's #6:

6. The author is unable to "imply" information. Consider the following sentences. Which one do you think the author should use to convey the intended information?

- She shook.
- She shook his hand.
- She reached out and shook his hand.
- She reached out her hand and shook his hand.
- She reached out her hand and shook his hand with her hand that she was reaching out with.

You'd be surprised by what people write. I once had a woman who "shook," and it wasn't obvious that she was shaking someone's hand until three sentences later. That's a case where the author thought that his sentence implied more than it did. A few stories later, I got option number five, which was vastly overwritten. Here's a tip: since we typically have to reach out to shake someone's hand, the words "reached out" in each of the above sentences are already implied, and probably are unnecessary. In the same way, when we stand, we don't need to add the word "up." If we sit, we don't need to add the word "down." If someone "nods," we don't have to add the words "his head." No one ever nods his knee. Authors who are unaware of how to imply information will almost always overwrite their stories, adding entire scenes that don't need to be there. Either that, or they'll leave out a great deal of vital description. Rarely will they do both.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

It should be noted, that he is talking about rejecting stories, not for commercial publication, but for a specific story writing contest.

While much of it is good general advice for authors, not all of it is.

His #8 for example:

Oily tales. Some authors think that readers like to be shocked, so they struggle to be as bloody, violent, disgusting, or perverse as possible. One must remember that if you're submitting to a major contest, the winning stories will be published. Any story that you submit that is not fit to be read by a high school student is, in my opinion, fatally flawed and will be rejected. Profanity may be edited out, but if vile content is what the story is about, then you need to be submitting to someone else.


There is a sizeable commercial market for psycho-slasher novels and other forms of bloody horror stories.

A market that has made Steven King among others very wealthy.

Ernest Bywater

I'd say this item 6 is only partially right. Sure there are something that are implied, but you need to be consistent, thus there are limits on what you can imply. To me the second and third sentences on hand shaking imply two different scenes.

She shook his hand provides a picture of two people about a half pace apart and shaking hand in the normal situation with them shaking hands at waist height and the upper arm beside their body and the elbow bent at close to 90 degrees.

She reached out and shook his hand provides a picture of them being a full pace apart and their arms are extended at about 45 degrees from the shoulder to reach across the wider gap than in the scene above.

They sort of have a point with the comment on nodding, until you get to things like some people who move their whole upper body a short distance forward and back when they nod. However, what is more important is being consistent in describing actions, especially of body parts with actions. You can nod your head in agreement, you can shake your head in disagreement (unless you culture has it the other way around - which some do); so you need to include head with shake, so being consistent means to do it with nod as well. And that's not even getting into such things like to nod off at the computer desk late at night.

Ernest Bywater

Got to just love the blogger (turn sarcasm off). In point 5 he jumps all over a person for implying they person is outside without describing trees, mountains etc., then jumps all over people for not implying things. I get the impression he has the same some of the issues he's complaining about.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Got to just love the blogger (turn sarcasm off). In point 5 he jumps all over a person for implying they person is outside without describing trees, mountains etc., then jumps all over people for not implying things. I get the impression he has the same some of the issues he's complaining about.


You know what they say, if you can't write, you teach writing. If you can't teach writing, you volunteer for 'writing contests'. If you can't do shit for contests, you blog about pointless contests. Geez!

The biggest 'tell' of all, is that he never once mentioned anything about storytelling, just what he 'can't stand' about other's writing.

By the way, I'm not about to subscribe to David's Writing Tips!

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Sure there are something that are implied, but you need to be consistent, thus there are limits on what you can imply


Remember, he said, "probably unnecessary."

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Singing crystals out of the ground? Reminds me that Radley Black's 'Blue Wave Healer' hasn't been updated for far too long.

I hope the bandwagonists don't supersede "Show, don't tell" with "Imply, don't show or tell". :(

AJ

pcbondsman

@Ernest Bywater

An alternate scenario for "reaching out".

The lady is sitting. It's perfectly appropriate for a seated lady to not stand to shake hands with a male.

She reached out and shook his hand provides a picture of them being a full pace apart and their arms are extended at about 45 degrees from the shoulder to reach across the wider gap than in the scene above.

sunkuwan

Some of those "tips" are narrow-minded.

For Number 4 he is upset about "nothing happening", how a girl is just doing everyday stuff and you dont know what this story is about.
Maybe it's a slice of Life story? Coming of Age? Maybe it's a Happy-normal-day routine that gets slashed after an event that shatters the life that she knows? Maybe it's a Groundhog-Day story that sets up the first day?

For Number 5 it could intentionally be left out where this person is to let the reader wonder, especially if it is a magical moment like the blog poster described.

For number 8: Yeah, no. If the writer wants an edgy story or sex, than let him, he would have enough readers.

Maybe he should have titled the page "How to submit mediocre, designed-by-committee, focus-grouped, not-out-of-the-norm stories.

Oh and you can buy "get rid of your writers block in 1 hour" tips from him for 69$

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sunkuwan

For Number 4 he is upset about "nothing happening", how a girl is just doing everyday stuff and you dont know what this story is about.
Maybe it's a slice of Life story? Coming of Age? Maybe it's a Happy-normal-day routine that gets slashed after an event that shatters the life that she knows? Maybe it's a Groundhog-Day story that sets up the first day?

He stated it's a short story, which typically don't focus on 'slice of life' stories, instead they wrap up quick scenes which capture the characters perfectly in a short span. I tend to agree with him. A short story which never gets to the point, and never develops the characters, isn't worth wasting time on. Especially not if they're competing against full-length novels which take the time to develop the scene, characters and worlds.

For #8, the blogger never said there was anything wrong with with sex stories or graphically violent stories, he instead stated that it was stupid entering them into a public contest, where they simply couldn't choose them, no matter how good they were. Again, a valid point not reflecting on the story itself.

As for your last point, I've resolved several authors writer's block (and several of my own), but it NEVER takes an hour (which is at least how long it takes the read the book, meaning it's a 'buy my book for an instant cure' book, which is clearly a load of crap.

As they say, writers write, those who can't write write blogs about writing, and those who can't successfully blog volunteer to contests so they can promote their crappy blogs. :(

sunkuwan

How short are we talking? I can't find the page where he sets the rules for his contests or the contests where he looks over the entries.

He says he will can the story if there is nothing happening after two pages. If we exclude stories that can't be shown in a High School and pure Slice of Life, there are still some stories where the over-the-top, over-detailed morning routine of the MC has a meaning for the rest of the story.

I know he would have to read a lot of trash in those contests but he makes a disservice for aspiring Authors if he cans the story because he doesn't see where the story is going after two pages.

And the 69$ are apparently Skype sessions and phone calls with his Son if the block is psychological. (which kind of 95% of all writers block issues are, if its not an issue because the Author thinks he doesnt have enough time.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
AmigaClone

I can see one specific situation where a writer's block could be resolved in an hour or less.

An author with the writer's block receives a either a suggestion or an question from one of their readers. While thinking about the suggestion or answering the question they gain some inspiration needed to continue the story. Note that the idea from the question or the suggestion might not be used.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sunkuwan

I know he would have to read a lot of trash in those contests but he makes a disservice for aspiring Authors if he cans the story because he doesn't see where the story is going after two pages.

I'm making assumptions here, but I'm assuming he only applies the 2-page limit for short stories (5,000 to 15,000 words), meaning the authors he's referring to aren't using their limited wordage efficiently and won't have time to rescue the story in the amount they have left. However, he also stated that he doesn't think much of people who submit short stories to a contest comprised of primarily novels.

Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

I can see one specific situation where a writer's block could be resolved in an hour or less.

An author with the writer's block receives a either a suggestion or an question from one of their readers. While thinking about the suggestion or answering the question they gain some inspiration needed to continue the story. Note that the idea from the question or the suggestion might not be used.

Even in that case, it still takes time. Not a lot, but generally, the hardest part is identifying the problem with the existing story. Once you do, you generally need time to consider how the story issue affects the overall story, and then you have to fashion how to respond to it. I generally figure those out with a long walk without distractions while I let my mind wander. It generally takes anywhere from two hours to two days (that would be after you finished the crappy advice book), and then you've got to rewrite the broken passages, normally a specific chapter but I saw a recent case where the author kept writing for an additional hundred pages, meaning they'd have months before they could incorporate all the necessary changes.

Sometimes it's fast for isolated problems (several hours), but in NO circumstances can you do it after reading some generic advice for an hour.

I'm guessing he's never actually written much (besides his blog) and has read others discussing how they rectify writer's block but has never resolved it himself (or if he has, he only has to rewrite a 1,000 word blog which he could probably do in about fifteen minutes).

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, writing about your opinions in something like a blog is easy. It is only when you are trying to write something that others will accept as realistic and fits the overall flow of a story that you run into problems.

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