Book Reviews

Chuck Wendig- 250 Things You Should Know About Writing



* Even though the title is 250 Things You Should Know About WritingChuck Wendig actually offers 275 tips- bonus! He mentions how 250 sounds more “rounded” than 275, which I have to agree that it does.

* Some of my favorite tips include:

1. Your Voice Is Your Own- “Write like you write, like you can’t help but write, and your voice will become yours and yours alone.” Basically, don’t be a poseur.

2. A Good Story- “A good story entertains but a great story knows that it has in its arsenal the ability to make us feel something.”  I seem to do a decent job at this. Often when people read one of my short stories or poems they’re left sad, angry, or wanting more. Recently I attended a poetry workshop and one of the women in my critique group mentioned that  my poem Father’s Rubik’s Cube bothered her because the daughter (me) seemed to have no compassion for her father. Her observation was spot on. At that moment when I was writing the poem, that’s how I felt. It’s important to be honest and raw.

3. What the Audience Wants- “The audience wants the protagonist to be happy, to be well. They want things to work out. They want conflict to resolve. The story cannot have these things and still be a good story.” Well then clearly, I write amazing stories 😉

4. Black and White- “Black and white grows weary. More interesting is how dark and many shades of gray characters may become before brightening.” Love this one!

5. Writing is A Craft- “Writing is a craft, storytelling is art.” Without passion, there is no art.

6. You Are The Dealer- “You are the dealer, the character is the drug.” It’s a symbiotic relationship, for sure.

7. Act Upon the World- “Act upon the world rather than have the world act upon him.” Or as Wendig colorfully describes: “Don’t let the character be a dingle berry stuck to the ass of a toad as he floats down river on a bumpy log.”

8. Bring the Pain- “Bring the Pain, amp the misery, escalate the conflict.” In a nutshell, don’t be boring.

9. Dialogue is Easy Like Sunday Morning- Wendig suggests that the author use a lot of dialogue for a fast flow but make sure its complicated and challenging to a point. An example- using Amanda Bynes (former actress and obsessive tweeter)  twitter rants in your novel is probably not the best form of dialogue.  Ugly is her word of choice. Not much variety = shows that your character has a limited vocabulary.

10. Use Said- “Use said and asked 90% of the time. This is something that I learned from attending conferences. Before that my characters were murmuring, stuttering, tweeting, twerking, etc. all over the place!

11. Let the Character- “Let the character sign their own work.” You should be able to identify characters by their voice. Grandpa shouldn’t speak the same as his granddaughter.

12. Describe the Weather- “Describe the weather only if it matters.” I tend to describe the weather quiet a bit, probably too much but I’ve noticed that a lot of authors do this. It’s just so tempting to use weather to evoke mood.

13. Best Advice- “The biggest and best chance you have to get published is to write something that not only doesn’t suck, but is actually pretty goddamn good. Go figure.”

* For more tips, purchase Wendig’s book:   You’ll be glad that you did. I only shared 13 tips out of 275 which is ____ %. Sorry, don’t know off the top of my head- I’m a writer/reader, not a mathematician, peeps.

* Be sure to follow his blog Terrible Minds-   It’s hysterical and makes me snort!



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  1. These were awesome! He sounds really down to earth. I’m learning the whole said/asked rule right now myself. Thanks for including a few snippets!
    Katie Cross recently posted…Updates on my Writing Life.My Profile

  2. Good advice! Like the advice about dingleberries. :o)
    Casa Mariposa recently posted…Pool Shark School of Surprise AttackMy Profile

  3. Pingback: Book Review Links

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