Writing Advice That Says To Ignore Writing Advice

13 Nov

Here is author Lee Child on his writing process.


Now here’s what I gleaned from watching it a couple times

How Do You Research?

He says he doesn’t research before or while writing.

I am glad to hear that, because I tried to figure out all the details for the poisons, symptoms, what an O.D. death would look like, how the authorities would react to so many deaths in one year, the political structure of a small town, the symbiotic/sympathetic realities of several small communities… You get the point. My brain exploded. My writing came to a screeching halt.

So, no more real research until the first draft is completely finished.


Tell Us About Your Writing Process

He says he just starts on page one and hopes to finish within a few months so it can be published.

I think I may have made something of a mistake when I wrote a very detailed outline. Now it feels the way he described it, as though the story has almost lost it’s fascination for me. The story has already been told. Although, hopefully my characters will continue to let me know their opinions along the way, and that should allow for some interesting twists and turns. Besides, as Stephen King says, if the author is bored, so is the reader. Paraphrasing of course.


Any Tips For Budding Authors?

The book needs to be vibrant and alive…

In my thinking, this means that you really need to listen to what your characters want, pay attention to what they would and wouldn’t do. When you know your characters well enough they often kick up their heels when things get too boring, or if you are trying too hard to cram them into a mold.


His parting advice:

Ignore all advice.

Ha ha ha. Really, I have been wondering if listening to too much advice (ahem, and reading too many articles) is part of my problem. Instead of just getting the story down, powering through the more difficult parts, I started looking for outside thoughts.

It’s my own fault. What is life for if not to learn. Well, I am learning my lesson as I struggle through this first draft.

I guess it’s time to shrug and just dive in. Time to bury myself in the project and not come out until the book is finished.

Hmmm, guess it’s time to dig up my perseverance, for when people tell me I’m not doing it right. For when they say there’s a better way, an easier, faster way. I have tried those. Believe me. Now it’s time for me to just do it my way.

“Oh, good, my way. Thank you, Vizzini.

Which way’s my way?”

*            *            *

Have you had to ignore other people’s well-meaning advice lately?

Is there a project you are currently struggling with?


*Yes, that is a Princess Bride quote.  😀  Just couldn’t resist.



4 Responses to “Writing Advice That Says To Ignore Writing Advice”

  1. Sharon Rawlette November 13, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    I find I do have to ignore other writers’ advice. Because each of us works differently, and honestly, you can’t really know what works for you until you just get into it and do it…for years…


    • rosedandrea November 14, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      You really do have to experiment to find out what works for you. Then when you find it, don’t let anyone tell you something different. Unless something goes wrong, I guess.

      *sigh Years. Although, I have been writing on several different projects for over 5 years. So maybe part of my dues have already been paid? (fingers crossed)


  2. elainecanham November 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I started teaching creative writing this year, and I find the best way for my students to get started, is to give them lots of ways of approaching a story – how to invent characters, and how to (loosely) plan a plot. I too have planned something in such great detail that I just lost interest, but I’ve found that if you at least know where you’re going, your story has a much better focus. Thanks for reblogging my post, by the way, that’s really generous of you.


    • rosedandrea November 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      You’re welcome! It made me giggle, and made good points, therefore it was almost mandatory that I reblog. 🙂

      About the over-planning part, I think I will just go ahead and write the story as it is in my head. Then I might work in forgotten but necessary plot points on the second draft. It is very character driven and I want her voice to come through, not the bullet points of the outline.

      I think you would be cool to have as a creative writing instructor. Especially since you actually seem to enjoy teaching the subject. 🙂


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