August 10-12, 2018 | New York City

Bad Advice Boogie

Writing isn’t a science, but plenty of people like to pretend that it is. From the moment they write their first story, writers are subjected to a flood of advice—advice from know-it-all-gurus, advice from the victims of confirmation bias, even advice from folks who have never tried to write a book or story.

Over the years some of this advice has become so ubiquitous it’s taken on the feel of received wisdom, but much of the “standard” advice writers hear isn’t all that good. Jeff Somers, prolific freelancer and improbably successful author of The Ustari Cycle and The Avery Cates Series, discusses the bad advice writers get all the time, from old chestnuts like Write What You Know and Show Don’t Tell to less-famous stuff like Don’t Carry a Notebook. He’ll talk about why advice that seems good is mostly harmful—and when bad advice magically becomes good advice.

Bad Advice covered will include Write What You Know, Show Don’t Tell, Write Every Day, Kill Your Darlings, Invest In a Thesaurus, You Must/Can’t Have a Prologue, Avoid Passive Voice, It’s Been Done, Don’t Carry a Notebook, and Never Open with Dialogue.