Ari Marmell doesn’t think much of your advice.


Over on Suvudu, Ari Marmell is pointing out that writing advice which tries to tell you how your own creative process should work is bad writing advice. And he’s right; it’s not cool or helpful.

But what I’d like to see from a writing advice book (assuming I ever had reason to read another one) is an acknowledgement that people have different methods and that learning to write is in part an experimentation with process. It should have a chapter for outliners, with all the different methods for outlining, and a chapter for non-outliners with everything those writers need to know. And readers should be encouraged to study both chapters.

Of course, the best way to learn about writing is not from a writing advice book, but by studying the sort of books you love and want to write. Discover how they work. Create your own theory. Move forward from there.

8 thoughts on “Ari Marmell doesn’t think much of your advice.

  1. “But what I’d like to see from a writing advice book…”

    See, I’d love to see what you’re describing. In point of fact, I think the single best way to write a “how to write” book would be with *multiple authors*, each writing on a few different topics. Not “Here’s how to do X,” but “Here’s how *I* do X.” Almost a book of essays, as it were.

    Not sure how much demand there’d be for something like that, but I think it would do a lot of people a lot of good.

  2. Kevin Hearne

    Let’s write it, Ari! Put our money where our blog is! I’ve written both ways, pantsing and outlining…Harry, you in? ;)

  3. The problem with the use of LJ as an instructional platform, of course, is the difficulty of separating the chaff from the uh, slightly less worthless chaff. ;)

    (Actually, that would be a good tagline for a book about social networking in general: “Separating the Tweet from the Chaff.”)

  4. LOL I used to direct people straight to my friends list. I had some tasty chaff on there, but it’s changed a bunch since then.

    Now I send them to Jim Butcher’s LJ. It’s all about how he does it, and much of what’s there isn’t stuff I’ve seen everywhere else. So much writing advice is just recycled tips and exercises (how could it be any other way?) but finding new and different ideas can be pretty difficult.

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