Thursday, July 28, 2005

Writing Better

Like Elise, I really like thoughtful writing advice, especially when a) I'm giving it, b) it goes beyond the fundaments of, say, Strunk & White, and/or c) it's highly opinionated. Here, from the sci-fi writer C.J. Cherryh, is a brief list of Writerisms and other Sins: A Writer's Shortcut to Stronger Writing. A sample:

Descriptive writerisms.
Things that have become "conventions of prose" that personally stop me cold in text... Mirrors - avoid mirrors, as a basic rule of your life. You get to use them once during your writing career. Save them for more experience. But it doesn't count if they don't reflect - by which I mean see the list above. If you haven't read enough unpublished fiction to have met the infamous mirror scenes in which Our Hero admires his steely blue eyes and manly chin, you can scarcely imagine how bad they can get.