For the past three years I've kept an electronic journal. Okay, it’s more a word document entitled "How you are going to screw yourself and you writing" but let’s be honest, electronic journal just sounds better. Anyhow, it has survived two laptops and one desktop. It is the first file I transfer over to my new computers, after my manuscripts of course. It’s nothing earth shattering, just a list of writerly advice I’ve received over the years. I read it every single time I start a new manuscript, hoping to avoid making the same mistakes I have undoubtedly made before. Where do I collect these little nuggets of knowledge? CP's, my agent, editors who have been generous to give me feedback on my manuscripts, all sorts of random places. Here is my favorite... or should I say the one that has impacted my writing the most:
A series of coincidences does not make a plot.
I could explain it, give you horribly embarrassing examples of how my first attempt at writing fell into this category, but I will spare you . . . or rather myself the embarrassment of admitting that I have written entire manuscripts with this fatal flaw.
Have you ever received a piece of writerly advice that has stuck with you? If so, I would love to hear it/ add it to my list!