Wednesday, June 28, 2017

High Quality Writing Advice

Most writing advice strikes me as the coloring on a tropical frog - it's bright and obvious and tells you to stay away from the poison.  You would think that those who write for a living would be better at writing advice, but typically I make note of the advice-giver's name to add to my list of authors to avoid.  If the best you can offer is nothing more concrete and actionable than, "write what you love" and "seek inspiration everywhere," then it's a safe bet you won't offer anything more interesting in your fiction writing. 

Enter Russell Newquist.  The man has been tearing up the scene lately.  His spirited defense of his publishing house's writers are epic, but it's his writing advice you should really study.  His latest, a two-parter on how to write page-turners is particularly illuminating.

In part one he provides actual mathematical numbers:
Be the page turner. Keep your chapters short. My average chapter length for Post Traumatic Stress is 1450 words. That’s only two manuscript pages, and only about a half dozen book pages.
Part two provides more structural advice:
One easy way to end your chapter on a hook is to take the first sentence of your next chapter and move it to the end of your current chapter.
 If you want people to say they couldn't put your book down, go thou and do likewise.


  1. This is one of the few modern articles I've seen that's actually talking about how to interact with the audience as you tell your story. Most of the rest--myself included--tend to focus on technique.

  2. Nothing wrong with manipulating the customers when what they are paying you for is *to be manipulated*!