From Janet Reid’s blog, writing advice I actually like. I don’t know that I think this is advice that could be easily taken in a practical sense, but I still like it. It’s from a twitter thread by tv writer Matthew Federman
Some tidbits that particularly caught my eye:
4) When you’re going in the wrong direction it feels like a slog. If you spend a suitable amount of time grinding gears, reassess.
I find that completely true. There can be other reasons your WIP just stalled out. (I’m sure there are an infinity of reasons this can happen.) But by and large, when the gears start to grind, then I personally have found myself deleting thirty or sixty pages and taking the ms in a different direction.
I remember writing three completely different Chapter Fives for one manuscript. And this absolutely happened in House of Shadows too.
18) When characters are complex, plots can be simple.
That sounds so pithy and elegant. Also, it might be true. True-ish. If the writing is inviting enough and the characters are appealing enough, then I expect that the plot can be simple even if the characters are not that complex either. I am thinking of Romance here, but I feel that is basically the case in general.
One might argue that characters have to have a certain level of complexity in order to be appealing, but I’m not actually sure that’s a very high level. Maia in The Goblin Emperor strikes me as an example of a protagonist who is very, very appealing without being all that complex. YMMV, but I think the portrait Katherine Addison / Sarah Monette draws of Maia is intimate and deep, but also simple.
22) While it is great and necessary to have flawed characters in drama, not all flaws are created equally. A Hero can be unfaithful, they can be wrathful, they can be stubborn. One thing they can rarely be: incompetent in their chosen field.
Now THERE is a true statement. Nothing in the entire realm of fiction is less appealing than a protagonist who is incompetent.