The Worst Writing Advice

We asked some of our featured Booklovers Festival authors to share the WORST writing advice they have ever been given…


"Why does the world need another science book?" – IDAN BEN-BARAK

Write what you know. – EMMA VISKIC

You have to write every day – actually, you don’t and many of us just can’t. – JUSTINE HYDE

Make your character likeable. – STEPHANIE BISHOP

You need to write more like ‘so and so’ or ‘I don’t get it. Can you change the ending?’ – MARIE ALAFACI

Anything that is claimed to work for every writer. – BRAM PRESSER

"Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet." — Zadie Smith. She is a hero of mine but I humbly disagree on this one. A working internet connection puts a useful universe at your disposal. It can distract but so can a blank wall if you let it. – ROBERT LUKINS

Some advice hasn’t been right for me, but you soon learn what (and who) you should listen to. – MARK BRANDI

I was once told by a male writer in my Masters degree that the manuscript I was working on was too ambitious for me to write and that I should start on something else. That male writer quit the degree about 3 months later and the manuscript I was writing was eventually published as See What I Have Done. Good thing I’m stubborn and don’t listen to people who just want to take others down because they feel insecure about their own work. – SARAH SCHMIDT

Show don’t tell. Less is more. Kill your darlings. I prefer: Tell, don’t show; More is more; Cherish your darlings. – MORENO GIOVANNONI


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