How to write fiction

Review and survive the urge to destroy (your fiction masterpiece) 2

man in red sweater using macbook
Photo by Vanessa Garcia on

I haven’t said yet how to survive the urges to destroy the reviewed masterpiece, yet here I am again with «stolen[1]» advice. Hence fore, we retake the counting in number 4.


«Show, not to tell[2].

Isaac Asimov wrote his Memoirs twice. No, he didn’t make a mistake. He actually has a pair of Memories published. In the second one, he reminds advice from an editor[3]. To say things the same way Hemingway did. No adornments. If morning is coming following day, then morning is coming following day. There’s no point in lacing the cloth.

Does it apply to what Andrea Camilleri calls pre made phrases? The patience of the spider. To climb the stair of life… In a way it does. Yet, some people say that by writing in a different language you miss the idioms of your mother tongue… Thus, you have the delight to try and invent something new since your use of the language isn’t as enlighten.

Yet, I haven’t touch the «show, don’t tell» rule. I’m still speaking of form. Is the cliché the use of idioms? Or is it the use of simple descriptive language? Is it the use of an image formula?

Going back to the site comparison. The site uses the example of something that Chejov said…. But nobody can assure you he said so. It is part of the myth on how to write fiction: Don’t tell me the moon shines, show me its light on shards of glass.

Very different to the advice given to Asimov… Isn’t it? In addition to, clichés aren’t bad. Clichés are your friend, so long you know when and how… Like this image of the strong woman placing her hands on her hips. I ignore how is that, a strong woman and not just a bossy petty one… Yet, American female writers love the image to make their FL strong….

This is a case of cliché I’d like to speak about. To me, a cliché —and remember, I DO write nonsense— it is to solve your problems in the same way another author already has solved like. Yet, I might be wrong and it doesn’t matter either if you describe the moon shine as moon shine or if you have a coquettish widow behind a veil of clouds.

The point is that Hana yori dango has been adapted both to anime, live action and drama by both Japanese and Korean; and contains most of the romantic comedy clichés of the typical Asian love story. Some moment, along the plot, our ML suffers a car accident and… Guess what? Yes! He loses his memory (there is so much memory loss in Korean, Japanese and Chinese narrative that one would wonder how frail is the Asian brain – no prejudices; you’re strong, but narrative suggests otherwise). The memory loss causes a small misunderstanding…

Or do I have to say, a snowball of misunderstandings that «could be cleared away with a simple talk». Fortunately for us, we know communication is over rated. Cause it is not so easy to say things. Out of love we lie to protect or we cause rifts by telling too much. Oh, it isn’t? Tell me the last time you didn’t relate to a character who wouldn’t «communicate» out of fear to disappoint, hoping to protect a loved one or… Said something hurtful and untrue in the midst of a fight. Communication isn’t as simple, is it?

And so the miscommunication snowballs and we fear the outcome; for there’s always an oportunist female character ready to make haste of it.  Atsushi needs to trust Doumioji… And make us believe people are great. And sometimes they are.

But that’s not the point. The point is, I can tell this is a favourite cliché for manga and Asian drama. Said memory loss causes either a misunderstanding or… The potential partner to admit they’re in love cause they can’t lose the beloved.

Another one is the flu. Are your characters driving apart? Give one the flu and the other will have to visit them out of concern. Have they broken up? The flu! Cause the beloved has no one else to go. The two of them have little to do with each other? The flu! Oh, and it must be a flu that needs going to hospital. It guarantees perfect love and more than a cliché, now it must be a genre requirement.


Yep. You might forget not just the eye colour of a character by half of the novel. You can also get lost in time linety. It is either review or remember every single thing you wrote. And since not many of us have that kind of memory; we better review.


(Sorry, not child. Fiction masterpiece.)

Waaa. There are two ways. Or maybe I’ll discover more as I write:

a) Believe in yourself enough to think the child deserves delivery. It needs a big ego but you need to believe in your craft or no one will.

b). Place the manuscript in the drawer and wait until you’re ready to review it again and face the needed changes or replace what’s not working.

c) Start all over again.

Have you survived the urge to trash the fiction baby? How are you Apgar testing your newborn? Tell me in the comments or subscribe and enjoy more nonsense! Pasto kalo.

[1] Some people might say but you have gone to the actual page and now know, that website doesn’t deal with half what I mention, rught?

[2] Where does start the thing of telling stories then? Was my question before I learnt why telling is not good

[3] I won’t quote since a)It will take me too long looking it up the book and I’m a lazy person; b) I read the book in Spanish, thus I would be retranslating and probably mistranslating due to the double process

[4] Iconic romantic teenage drama I came to read thanks to Dian. It is entertaining and light, in case you need something light showing the disparity couple of turn

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