writers resources / writers tips / writing

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 Examiner.com, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-

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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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6 thoughts on “Writers Tip #60: It’s Fiction. Make Stuff Up.

  1. lol – I love the turkey baster bit! I remember reading a Tom Clancey book and obviously he was trying a new direction – and it didn’t work…

    I’d never heard of ‘The Elements of Style’. I’ll have to get it!

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    • Elements of Style is pithy and intuitive. It’ll validate what you think you know about writing. Thanks for dropping by, Christian. Haven’t heard from you in a while. I’m going to toddle on over to your blog and see what you’re up to.

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  2. Dang it! I like Cussler novels! 😦 And now, I’m trying to figure out exactly what IS the thing with the turkey baster. Personally, I am more of a ‘fade to black’ girl when it comes to sex scenes, but now I find myself trying to picture what you would use a turkey baster for in that situation. What does it say about me that I can’t come up one?!

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    • I love Cussler–the old Cussler–too. He’s a great model for us thriller writers. I’m with you on the sex scenes–can’t write them. Those, I leave completely to the reader’s imagination. Let them figure out the turkey baster thing!

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  3. I so agree about rules. If we followed all the rules, no one would publish us because we’d be boring. On the other hand, they won’t read our query letters if we break the rules. No wonder agents are out of vogue. They make no sense!

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  4. I love tips and rules but, at some point, they are meant to be broken. I like rhyming sentences. I like the words verdant and compelling and will use them in the future. Strunk and White is a great rule book and #6 is so true.
    The rest went over my head but what do I know, I’m still stuck on verdant and looking for compelling reasons to not bitch about the writing process… 🙂
    Thanks Jackie!

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