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About This Blog
Hans Ness, Oct 15, 2023
As a former English teacher now publishing my first novel, I’ve noticed some interesting contradictions and gaps in the general writing advice out there. Given how many writers like to write (and argue) about writing, I’m not surprised to find disagreements. But I was still surprised by a couple patterns.

First, many recommendations are oversimplified, overgeneralized, and overstated, clumsily argued in a way that is easy to disprove. Someone would tell me, “You must always blah blah blah,” but then I easily found several successful recent stories that contradicted that advice. So some of my posts will dissect these commonly overstated “rules” and show counter-examples.

Second, I noticed the advice that was not there. That is, I’ve observed patterns in storytelling that I thought everyone else saw too, but then I found no one else mentioning it. So some posts will be these possibly novel observations (pun intended) with supporting examples.

I suppose I’ll inevitably post my own explanations of some typical writing advice, at least if I think there’s a better way to explain it. We’ll see...

I aim to discuss the universals of storytelling that apply across the page, screen, and stage. However, I certainly focus more on books and movies for children and young adults. You’ll notice most of my examples are animated family films, partly because 1) I’m a fan of the genre, and 2) most people have seen these movies, more than most books, which makes them useful examples. So please consider “audience” and “readers” to be interchangeable.

I look forward to your comments. I’m especially curious to hear differing views from industry insiders.