What is the worst piece of writing advice you've been given?

I felt like we were missing this great thread!

What’s the worse piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
What’s the best piece of writing advice you could give?

Honestly… said is dead. Never use said is awful advice. Mix it up, sure, but don’t eliminate it completely. Said is invisible but all those stated, retorted, demanded, announced, etc stick out like a sore thumb.

Best advice is still “your first draft will suck” some will suck less than others, but every first draft needs work. Stop stressing over making it perfect and just get it done. Though this one applies more to people who can’t finish a first draft because they’re trying to make it perfect.


“Said is dead” is terrible advice, and I have gotten that.

But besides that, one of the worst ones I got was to not have my character say normal things that a normal human would say. This happened with my story A Nightmare’s Fate, and in the prologue, she’s at her fiance’s funeral and her friend asks her, “Are you okay?” The critic had told me to cut it out because “of course she isn’t okay; her fiance just died!” My argument was that it’s a human reaction. I feel like this person was never sad before, and someone - who obviously knew she was sad - never said, “Are you okay?” Because that’s happened to me, and I’ve even said it to people, too.

One of the best pieces of advice was both: show, don’t tell, and to describe as much as I could without describing unnecessary areas.

When I first started writing, I lacked a lot of details and they were dull. But as I continued to practice, it came natural.

Another best piece of writing advice was to never give up. :slight_smile:


I’m quickly beginning to realise I use a lot of dialuge tags, or I did when I wrote Baby Steps :’) Not sure why I thought it was a good idea at the time, haha.

1 Like

Yeeep, that sounds like bad advice! Nothing wrong with normal — or compassion. I’d be wondering why the friend didn’t ask.

I do love that advice! Descriptions are a hard thing to get right. In the beginning, I got so many mixed opinions, it was hard to figure out the right mixture.



Because you were new. It happens. I never used to correctly tag with commas instead of full stops, so we all learn as we grow.


@xFakingaSmilex I definitely overused dialogue tags in my first draft of AWAKEN. @Prisim knows how frustrated I am about that, I think that was one of my biggest issues with my own writing when I go back and reread it LOL.

1 Like

there was this one person I critiqued who got told by there editor to never use the verb ‘to be’ and all versions of it, so they simply left it out and never used it. And it was… bad. They didn’t tell me, but whoever told them must’ve been crazy.

As for good advice… focus on punctuation ;-; punctuation is very important


Has everyone been told that said is dead? LOL Someone told me that, and I ended up spending so much time editing out all the non-said’s when I was getting ready to publish. What a mess!


Probably gonna lose half the word count of my book by the time I finish chopping them out XD And “quickly”, I used that a lot.

1 Like

Agreed! Tis all about the learning.

1 Like

I’ll admit, I’ve never heard that one before! Odd advice indeed.

1 Like

it is. and it made everything look horrible. try to write a normal paragraph without using any version of ‘to be’ (was/were/being/am/are. it’s impossible)

I’m only an exception because I write in present tense :laughing:


I don’t want to imagine! :o

1 Like

try it. I want to see what it’ll look like

Fairly sure anyone who has had a high school English class has been told said is dead. :laughing: They seem to be the worst offenders of this lesson.


I don’t think my brain will allow it!!

1 Like

I will take the challenge.


nope. we don’t get taught how to write in English. they try to get the bare basics first, as no-one pays attention or cares to remember

1 Like