Today I decided to write a post on Writer Nazis. You know the ones. They have blogs on the internet and they type with furious-ness, saying YOU MUST NOT DO THESE THINGS EVER.
Sometimes they’re right. But most of the time, they’re wrong. I’m going to attempt to debunk some of the YOU MUST NOT DO THESE THINGS EVER ideas.
1) You must not use exclamation marks!!!!!!!! Ever!!!! Which begs the question: why the hell do we HAVE exclamation marks if we’re not allowed to use them? Sure, don’t use them for every sentence. But I saw this ridiculous post where a writer said “there must be no more than one exclamation mark per 50 pages.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was the idea – and I think it’s ridiculous. Sure, it’s important that you describe what’s happening. But an exclamation mark can help with that.
2) NEVER use adverbs willingly (see what I did there?). I admit that I fall foul of this one a lot – in the first draft stages, those adverbs just waltz on out. How rude of them. Yes, I think that it’s best to steer clear of adverbs wherever possible. However, it’s preposterous to suggest that we can NEVER USE THEM EVER. Again: why would they be there? Use them sparingly, but don’t abandon them entirely. I am actually the master of adverbs.
3) NEVER use words for said other than said. This is not the worst advice, but it does (AGAIN) have its pitfalls. Yes, you should let your description show people how your character said a certain thing. Yes, using words other than said make it more noticeable and can bring your reader out of the story. Words like “stated” and “questioned” really annoy me when I find them in books (and I find them more frequently than I’d like to). That said, they’re okay to use in variation.
Those are my three debunked writing tips for now. I might add some more in a later post. Keep on writing, writers!