Today I step back from my mission to provide so much bad writing advice that I'm the last writer standing. This is because today, surfing the Net to avoid writing a chapter I'm having a hard time with, it hit me: There is already so much really bad writing advice out there, I can put my mission on hold for as long as I like and would-be writers will still be more than sufficiently mislead.
To clarify, I have nothing against writing advice. If you're Anne Lamott or Steven King, your advice is brilliant and I hope and pray you'll keep dispensing it. I think Martha Alderson is a great plot whisperer even though I'm constitutionally unable to use her workbook, and I know people who swear by, write by, and produce terrific books with Save The Cat. Keep saving that cat! If these folks advice works for you, but all means, follow!
I'm talking about my bad-advice competitors. People who list 67 words you can use instead of "said." "Ignore them!" she ejaculated/exclaimed/declared/bubbled over/whinnied/whined/cried/inveighed. The same goes for the 99 words to use instead of "went." Seriously?
I'm talking about all those random and completely nonsensical rules. Don't give a physical description of your characters. Don't use adverbs. Don't use adjectives. If you must use adjectives, never use the word "nice." Never use the passive voice. Run on sentences are the kiss of death. No, sentence fragments are the kiss of Death. No, rhyming picture books are the kiss of Death. No, alliteration is the kiss of Death.
Today, I actually read something that, in an effort to mislead writers about how to create interesting characters, told me that my heroes should listen to women while my villains should interrupt them.
All right, I admit my competitors in the Really Bad Writing Advice arena are highly skilled.
But (never start a paragraph with "But" BTW) I just wanted you to be aware that in order to avoid direct competition with my really bad advice, my competitors have taken to disguising themselves as purveyors of good advice. Helpful advice. Warnings to save you from the dire consequences of adverb usage. So if you're out there beating the bushes for terrible advice, feel free to embrace them despite the mislabeling.
I say, purveyors of terrible advice disguised as good advice, stand your ground! Urging writers to produce truly bad prose by replacing the word "said" with as many awkward substitutes as possible on a single page is an honorable calling! Stand your ground, hold your head high, and acknowledge the glorious badness of your truly rank suggestions.