The NY Tyrant Guide to Not Being a Horrible Writer in the Year 2010 is Vice’s uncharitably snarky take on slush pile cliches, and it proves that I, too have tortured readers of slush piles the world over. Here are a few of my favorites from the list:
“When you think you are about to write something really good, go to the grocery.” This is true of my own fiction writing. If I think a sentence is great, that’s generally because it’s full of purple-prose or writerly diction that calls attention to itself and takes the reader out of the story. A good rule of thumb is to cut it in the second draft.
“Oh sweet, you went to that museum alone one day and had a tuna sandwich in the cafe? You’re killing me, please.” I’ve written this story. Twice. And it even got submitted out. <dies of shame>.
“Write less dialogue, unless you are really good at it, which I guarantee you aren’t.” Yeah, I suck at dialogue. Now I mostly try not to write it. Reported dialogue and narrative summary are my friends.
“Please, God, no characters who are musicians. There is nothing worse than trying to describe music, or how someone... more »more »