Rules, rules, rules. There are so many advice columns on writing, and in many cases, they contradict one another.
Don’t use adverbs. Don’t start a sentence with “and.” Don’t do this, and don’t do that. I have often given the so-called writing experts one big, “Pfft!”
With that said, a writer can’t simply slap some words together and hope it works, so perhaps I should clarify.
Though I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to all this advice, there are certain basic rules that are essential. A story has to flow. Transitions between paragraphs are necessary for it all to make sense. It’s perfectly fine for a new chapter to take place in a different place and time, but it’s not ok for one paragraph to suddenly jump to another place and time in the next paragraph with no explanation.
If a writer wants to be clever and let the reader figure things out on his/her own, that’s all right as long as it’s possible. But the reader cannot read the writer’s mind. We, as readers, need to see that the protagonist left one scene and moved to another before new dialog begins in the new place. It’s just common sense. And new characters must be introduced, not just thrown in, as if we already know who they are.
So why am I writing about this? Let me confess. I started reading a new book, and it happens to be written by an author who rarely gives anyone else a good review. Knowing this, when I picked up this book, I assumed it would be superb. After all, she criticizes everyone else, right? She must be an amazing writer.
Wrong. It’s gibberish. I can barely make heads or tails out of it. Nothing makes sense, it’s all over the place, and it’s quite possibly, the worst thing I’ve ever read.
No, I’m not telling you who it is! Don’t even ask. 😉
The point is, have you ever noticed how the most critical and negative people often shoot themselves in the foot? How can this author criticize everyone else when she herself can’t even write?
If you’ve been on social media enough, you’ve likely seen an argument where someone writes, “Your an idiot!” Or you may have seen, “Learn proper grammer, you moron!” Or even, “Learn to right English!” Well, those examples are probably equivalent to these highly critical authors.
The moral of the story? Take the plank out of your own eye before looking at the sawdust in someone else’s.