Seven Sins of Writing

  1. 1.
    Sentimental ~ This is unearned emotion. If you tell me she's devastated, if you tell me her voice cracks, if you show me her tears, none of that matters if any of it had to be said.
    "Like great works, deep feelings always mean more than they are conscious of saying." — Albert Camus
  2. 2.
    Contrived ~ This is unearned circumstance. He can't just think very hard or be especially earnest to make his weakness disappear. To overcome has to come from somewhere. Maybe I never saw it coming but when it does it should feel inevitable.
    "You can't hit the magic note without going through the scales." — Jim Crace
  3. 3.
    Invulnerable ~ This is unearned resilience. It doesn't have to be mortal peril. It doesn't have to be a cost I myself would ever have to pay. But she has to suffer and I have to believe it would really matter to her in the universe you've constructed.
    "The dark does not destroy the light, it defines it." — Brené Brown
  4. 4.
    Inauthentic ~ This is unearned character. No matter how strange the universe, characters, and circumstances, the emotional context must be real, and his response to it must be authentic.
    "All truth is a shadow…But every truth is substance in its own place, though it be but shadow in another place. And the shadow is a true shadow, as the substance is a true substance." — Isaac Pennington
  5. 5.
    Inconsistent ~ This is unearned direction. I may not have predicted how she would get here or that she would get here at all, but now that she's here it has to feel right.
    "It is in the nature of things to manifest themselves." — Vivekenanda
  6. 6.
    Uninteresting ~ This is unearned attention. I can't say more than C.S. Lewis said...
    "To interest is the first duty of art; no other excellences will even begin to compensate for failure in this, and very serious faults will be covered by this, as by charity." — C.S. Lewis
  7. 7.
    Formulaic ~ It must be earned. It can't be borrowed. It can't be assembled from parts. It can't be produced from a checklist. You can't follow the rules.
    "We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds." — Roger Ebert