[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 483: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
[phpBB Debug] PHP Warning: in file [ROOT]/includes/bbcode.php on line 112: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is no longer supported, use preg_replace_callback instead
Can you only learn how NOT to write? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
User avatar
DrG2
Colonel
 
Posts: 2728
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby DrG2 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:12 pm

I come from a background doing science, and while science is often represented as "the truth," it really operates by disproving what is not true, and making a working hypothesis from that which has not yet been disproved.

I wonder if an aspiring writer can only learn what not to do (grammar, show don't tell, etc.). There is no guarantee that after we stop doing the "bad things" that what is left will be effective. I think everyone with a modestly above average intelligence can write well enough to not be horrid, but will this be good enough?

Michelangelo suggested that what he did when he sculpted was to remove stone to reveal what was always there, beneath the surface.

If we knock off all the "bad bits," will there be a beautiful statue (or writer) beneath the surface?

James A. Ritchie
Lieutenant General
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:31 am

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:10 am


User avatar
DrG2
Colonel
 
Posts: 2728
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby DrG2 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:57 pm


User avatar
Carly Berg
Corporal
 
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:30 am
Location: Coming up behind you

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby Carly Berg » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:02 am

I think if we knock away all the bad bits, that's no guarantee that what's left will be very interesting. I've read so many stories that were "okay" but that's all. Like there wouldn't be any big reason not to publish them but there also wouldn't be any big reason to publish them, either. I find it a lot easier to say what not to do than what to do, though.
My books (available at Amazon):
Story Prompts That Work
Writing Flash Fiction: How to Write Very Short Stories and Get Them Published
Coffee House Lies: 100 Cups of Flash Fiction

James A. Ritchie
Lieutenant General
 
Posts: 4257
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:31 am

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:55 am


User avatar
updog
General of the Army
 
Posts: 6002
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:18 pm
Location: La La Land

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby updog » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:07 pm

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



User avatar
Crono91
Lieutenant
 
Posts: 868
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:13 pm

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby Crono91 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:24 pm

I've always learned more by figuring out what to do, rather than what not to do.

I love reading novels for fun, but I also read them as a way to study. I'm always analyzing how an author punctuated a certain sentence, or how the author developed a character, or how and when they developed a friendship/relationship. I ponder what I liked and what I didn't like. What would mesh with my writing style and what wouldn't.

I can list many things an author can and should do right by memory, but I can't do the same for what one shouldn't do.

Granted, every rule is both positive and negative based on perception.

"Show; don't tell." Half of that statement is positive--what to do--and half of that statement is negative--what not to do.
Be proud of your mistakes when they form from blinding passion. But now edit them.

User avatar
updog
General of the Army
 
Posts: 6002
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:18 pm
Location: La La Land

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby updog » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:28 pm

"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



User avatar
DrG2
Colonel
 
Posts: 2728
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby DrG2 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:46 pm


User avatar
onceuponwednesday
Major
 
Posts: 1568
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:39 pm

Re: Can you only learn how NOT to write?

Postby onceuponwednesday » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:04 pm

Writing a story is kinda like building a house but one that you're not quite sure what it looks like. At least for me. Editing on the other hand is more like DrG mentioned, carving an image out of a giant block of words.

I think it's very hard to write in a clean way that doesn't get in the way of the story and yet still manages to convey the emotions and images to the reader. I wouldn't want a reader to even notice the words or how beautifully the sentences were constructed. I wouldn't want to give Crono the chance to analyze the punctuation or the growth of relationships, just pull him by the nose on the journey with the characters.

Intelligent and capable adult mentors tend to be killed off by the end of the book.
The Rule of Three

Next

Return to Conversation question

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests