10 Things You Should Not Rely on During the Writing Process

We all know that writing is tough. Transferring words from your brain to your computer screen or notebook is the most difficult short distance travel probably ever. However, there are a few things that writers should NOT rely on.
Photo by Oli Dale on Unsplash

Hello, friends! Today we're going to talk negative: things you should NOT rely on during the writing process. Things that become crutches to your creativity. 

1. CHARACTER BANKS. NO. Absolutely 100% no. I've often used a name generator when I couldn't come up with a name, and that's fine. But character banks are like underdeveloped names and characteristics thrown together and pulled out of a recycling bin. I believe that authentic and unique characters are really essential to a story and character banks just don't deliver that.

2. INSPIRATION. Ya'll should know how I feel about this one! :) Inspiration is absolutely amazing! However, it IS sporadic and relying on inspiration alone will ultimately in writer's block instead of in a novel. A friend of mine emphasized brainstorming over inspiration. Try getting a brainstorming buddy or a sheet of paper--it's much more reliable.

3. 'SAID IS DEAD' PHRASES. 'aforementioned, conjectured..' Yes. I agree that using only 'said' gets basic and amateurish. But I don't think it needs to be neglected all together. Using replacement words is wonderful--it shows refinement and creativity. However, don't feel pressured to use them. 'Said' is fine, too. Tolkien used it, so that's proof enough for me.

4. MIDDLE-SCHOOL UNDERSTANDING OF WOUNDS. Unless you're writing some sort of story with violence, then this pro'lly doesn't apply to you. BUT SERIOUSLY GUYS. If you're going to put violence and fighting in a story, you really need to up your understanding of wounds. You don't gotta be an expert. But you're narrative can't sound like a Middle-School kid whose only ever got a bloody nose...even if you are.

(If I get enough interest, I will do a whole post on wounds/violence and whatnot. Lemme know if that's something y'all'd like to see!) 

5. SIMILARLY, OVER DETAILED EXPLINAEXPLA OF CARING FOR WOUNDS. Yeah, obviously that layer of explination needs to be established so that the reader isn't left wondering whether or not someone's wounds were cared for. HOWEVER, when I read other people's work, nothing waves the rookie sign more than over detailing.

6. Y.A. TRENDS. O.k., I know they are trends for a reason. They just happen to be this year's hot topic. However, they most often end up cheap, recycled and cliche. Go with an idea because you genuinely like it--not because it's a trend. Otherwise, it would be doing your creativity an injustice.

7. DEPRESSION/PTSD STEREOTYPES. If you're writing a character that either has depression or PTSD, you shouldn't rely only on what you've read in other novels. IT IS WORTH IT TO DO YOUR RESEARCH. Perhaps look up some real stories from a soldier with PTSD. Definitely don't fall into depression stereotypes. Not all depressents are dark and brooding. Some are perfect rays of sunshine. You never know.

8. IGNORANCE OF THE READER. Ok, this one's big. In A LOT of the stuff I've edited, the author tries to spend out everything that's happening and the chaacter's over simplified thoughts and explinations for why the character does what they do. THE READERS ARE NOT DUMB. If something is over simplified, they will probably do what I (accidentally) do and scan the whole section. Readers have the ability to figure things out. YOU SHOULD NOT COUNT ON COMPLETE STUPIDITY. (Also it depends on the target audience, so...)

9. THE COMPUTER. This is more technical than creative but I SWEAR it is just as important. There is NOTHING.WORSE. than typing up a beautiful chapter and losing it ALL because your computer crashed. Get some sort of hard drive or USB port and upload your updated writing every few months in case of an unexpected computer (darn you) shut down.

10. YOUR OWN BRUTAL CRITIC. Obviously, we know our stories inside out. And to an extent, we can tell when something is wrong. However, we are often our harshest judge. We cannot rely completely on our inner critic as a judge. Don't beat yourself up. You've reread your work thousands of times. I can assure you, it's much better than you think.

Let's Chat! 
1. What sort of things do you think writers should NOT rely on ? Why or why not? 
2. What sort of things do you think writers SHOULD rely on? Why or why not? 
3. What sort of posts would you like to see in the future? What topics? What sort of writing posts are useful to you? 

*Upcoming*......eventually. :D
1. Tips on Writing Romance
2. Book Review: Keeper of the Lost Cities (Book One) by Shannon Messenger 
3. Tips on Writing Characters With Depression 


  1. Awesome post!!! I agree, always keep a back up of your file. I've learned first hand the pain of having to rewrite a scene because of a computer crash.

    As I writer I try to not rely heavily on story prompts. Don't get me wrong they're great! But some, especially the one's I've seen recently, basically lay out the whole story and at that point there's not much to write and make your own, so I try and stick to one to two word story prompts.

    I think writers should rely on research. There's nothing so valuable as looking something up of you're not an expert on it. (Honestly, this actually happened to me recently. I was going to write about a frog not being able to see in a dark well until I did a handy Google search and found out that frogs can see in the dark. Learn something new every day XD)

    I would love to see a post on wounds!!
    Looking forward to future posts :D

    1. Yes, I do agree about the story prompts. Like, they ARE supposed to stay PROMPTS. What you said is absolutely true about laying the whole story out. I also find that lots of prompts I see now tend to be cliche or just have the same feel to them, Idk. Yes! Research is SUPER valuable especially since we have so many resources.

  2. UGH this is ALL. SO. TRUE!! I hate it when authors assume I wont understand what's going on its like pls have some faith in your audience haha. Also SERIOUSLY- anyone can get depression, like even the nicest people who bring light into the room could be crumbling from the inside can have stuff going on in their life that no one knows about- I think writers need to understand that so THANK YOU for saying that haha

    1. Oh yeah, of course! I just get sick of having things spelled out for me and I get SUPER sick and tired when all the depressents are dark and brooding it's like: no. Thank you for commenting, that means a lot! :D

  3. 1. What sort of things do you think writers should NOT rely on ? Why or why not?

    I agree that as a writer, the story prompts you find on Pinterest are not always the best inspirations for writing a story. Sure, you might find some that hilariously relate to what your characters might do, but the prompts are available to the public and more or less have been overused. I do sometimes use character banks, but only to try to create the beginnings of a character.

    2. What sort of things do you think writers SHOULD rely on? Why or why not?

    Writers should rely upon personal experiences and research. Gunshots don't just heal in a day, and different poisons effect different parts and systems of the human body. If you have not experienced anything of the sort, research it (I BEG OF THEE!). Also, friends are good to rely upon because discussing plots and twists with them is not only fun, but helps you make better sense of your story. Friends are also good for writing different personalities. If your friend is an introvert and you are a full blown extrovert, then more than likely, you don't know how introverts think. Situations can be handled differently depending on the personality. Research is not just articles you find off of Google; interviewing friends with different personalities (and for girls, interview multiple boys because believe it or not, they can be just as complicated as us) helps you create more accurate characters. (Sorry, got carried away there...hehe)

    3. What sort of posts would you like to see in the future? What topics? What sort of writing posts are useful to you?

    I would love for you to do a post about wounds and violence. It is sort of hard to write about a broken bone or a major flesh wound if you've never experienced it. The useful ones to me are the ones with old names that are never used, how to plot out stories, and I LOVED that post with the weird and wonderful words :) Also, could you post some tips on writing different genres? Like tips on writing sci fi, action, fantasy, fair tales(rewritten) etc? I like hearing multiple perspectives on how a specific genre should be written (like, what makes a good sci fi story, or how to rewrite a fairy tale).

    1. Yeah, I have to confess I sometimes use some prompts here and there just to get my creativity started during a block or something, but you're right, in general they just tend to be overused or at least have that overused feel since so many people see them. And also, I absolutely agree with you about the research!! When I first started writing, I used to think someone could travel twenty miles on foot in the beginning part of the day. Heheheheheheheheheheheehehehehe..... Thanks for the suggestion! I had thought of doing a post on tortures and whatnot, but you've definitely given me some great ideas! I'll try to get those out this week and next. Again, thanks a bunch! I appreciate it. :)


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