You’re stuck on a question about how to use a writing device, and off to the Internet/library/bookstore you go. Perhaps you stop after article number one, thinking certainly this must be the definitive answer, because this publishing professional has game to spare. She may well, but still your search should continue. Why? Because writing advice needs to be balanced and weighted. For every teeny facet related to being an author, there are often numerous opinions regarding the correct path forward. That’s right, from frowned-upon words, to execution of exposition, to ratio of dialogue to non-dialogue, no two authors are following the exact same instincts. Furthermore, prior to writing those advice articles/chapters, no two publishing professionals had the same mentors, publishing journeys, or life experiences. So I say balance and weight all the writing advice you take in, and keep taking it in your entire writing career, because when you do read yet another freaking article about dialogue tags, the cogs in your head will adjust the balances and weights for this sub-topic accordingly.
On balancing advice: Say you read three articles about best practices for book titles for your genre. Two of the articles advocate abstract titles; the other three say concrete titles are the way to go. That’s pretty close to a fifty-fifty split, so you may decide it doesn’t matter, or you may go with concrete because it has more votes.
On weighting advice: But even though abstract titles only got two of the five votes, both of the authors advocating abstract are best-selling, and so perhaps you decide to weight their opinions more heavily.
And don’t forget to take your own opinion into consideration.
I wrote this post for the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group blog hop. To continue hopping or to join the hop, click here. (There are more than 200 of us, and it’s fun!)
Have you experienced inconsistent writing advice? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.