Wednesday 10 December 2014

The Artist Unleashed: MOST ADVICE FOR WRITERS IS DANGEROUS by Alexander M Zoltai

These days, writing advice is cheap, even free on the Web. Cheap also in the sense, “of little worth because achieved in a discreditable way requiring little effort”.

Many of my blog posts have cautioned folks about the flood of "tips" streaming on the ‘Net that’s actually dangerous and will absolutely block their best efforts…

The word “dangerous” has the root meaning “power to harm”, based on the Latin dominus, “lord” or "master".

How could advice from authors considered masters harm a writer? Primarily, I feel, by being accepted as hard and fast “rules” or “laws”.

For every “rule” in the books, some creatively written story has successfully “broken” it :-)

I’m a writer and folks might think I’d be encouraging others to write.

Well, I do; but…

Sorry for the interruption, but The Artist Unleashed posts have moved to a new domain. Please click HERE to read the rest of this post and for the opportunity to comment.


  1. I feel like this could have been written for me, especially the first draft bit

  2. I've seen people stare at me with utter confusion, but I always thought my hair was messy that day. I've written for so long that the people who confuse me are non-writers. I mean, what do they do with all their time?

  3. I think, for me, the most important thing was learning what was natural for me. The Internet is good for a great many things but one of the negatives is there are too many who present their way of writing as the only way. They don’t doing it intentionally (certainly most don’t) or belligerently even but they do do it. They’ve found a way that works for them and (generously, they’re under no obligation) they share their findings. The mistake their readers make is assuming that they’ve found the way, that writing can be boiled down to a formula or a set of techniques. Which, of course, it can be. I could describe—assuming I could remember back that far—the steps involved in writing my first novel but those weren’t the same steps that resulted in my second; the third was so different as were the fifth, sixth and seventh. Up until the fifth I would’ve said that all my books required a long gestation period but then the last two came out of the blue and were a complete surprise. But that’s me. What worked for me once or twice may work for you or help you find you own way but writing is not plumbing. If people are willing to offer advice by all means listen to it, maybe even try it out to see how it fits but cherry pick. And be ruthless in discarding anything that doesn’t feel you.

  4. LifeBeyondBorders,

    First drafts, to me, are like first kisses :-)

  5. Annalisa,

    Can you imagine a world where everyone is a writer?


    Maybe that's a writing prompt :-)

  6. Jim,

    You said it all---especially, giving advice you read a toe-dip...

    I fear too many aspiring writers get into the "tips" pool at the deep end...

  7. Jessica !!

    Thanks for letting me hang out :-)

  8. Wonderful post. I love what you say about the need for research. I am starting to learn that life and all of the painful work that can go with it is such a valuable part of the true writer's work.

    1. Well, Johnpaul, with all the fabulous work you've already done, digging deeper with research will make you a True Force to be reckoned with :-)

  9. I think I have attempted digging deep for both my published books, and neither would conform to a myriad of writing 'tips'. Authentic, I think but selling nah forget it! So the temptation to try the tips for the next or the one after that is tempting, but not not tempting enough. Result, just pretend there will be readers and keep doing what you have choice about anyway!

    1. I'm sure, Philippa, you've pondered some of the deepest reasons to publish...

      Sticking with those is its own reward...

      Every book that's authentic will find its Day, even if the author isn't around anymore...