May 23, 2011

Writers Tip #60: It’s Fiction. Make Stuff Up.

writers tips

Great tips for soon-to-be great writers

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tips come from Keith Cronin, writer/musician, who shares his tongue-in-cheek advice for fellow writers:

  • 10. Never say verdant.
  • 9. Just because it’s true doesn’t make it compelling – or even interesting.
  • 8. Adverbs are just words. They don’t damage sentences; writers do.
  • 7. Three words: Strunk and White.
  • 6. Don’t fall in love with your words. It makes it hard to kill them.
  • 5. It’s hard to grow if you only write what you know. Crap, that rhymes. It wasn’t meant to.
  • 4. When writing sex scenes, leave out the thing with the turkey baster. Trust me on this.
  • 3. Stop bitching. You have cut-and-paste, and the Undo key. Most literary greats did not.
  • 2. You’re not wrong: Clive Cussler really does suck.
  • 1. It’s fiction. Make stuff up.

That last one is spot on (not that the rest aren’t). Writers must allow readers to willingly suspend their disbelief, enter a world of make-believe that they can believe. That might be the hardest part of writing.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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