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Bad writing advice

We’ve heard a lot lately about good writing “ the Nobel Prize for literature announcement, the Giller shortlist “ but the L.A. Times has a post about literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog, in which Bransford asks his readers for the worst writing advice they have ever received. From the L.A. Times:

It’s likely that many of the people on a literary agent’s blog are aspiring writers, so some of this advice may have been given with the best of intentions to improve on particular writing weaknesses or quirks. But a lot of it is pretty bad, and some is just plain bonkers:

  • Remove all your commas. Editors don’t like commas and they pull the reader out of the story.
  • The first page of your novel MUST include the protagonist’s sex, age, physical description and location. Preferably, this is all revealed in the first paragraph.
  • Worst advice: Your character should experience only one emotion per scene.
  • Narrative is what makes a good story. Get rid of all the dialogue.