Today’s Unbridled answer to “What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever given or received?” comes from author Erica Abeel.
“A nice piece of writing advice I once received is that whenever you’re stuck on a scene and where it’s heading, go take a walk. Or just go brush your teeth or make tea — anything, so long as it takes you away, keeps you from bearing down on the page. Move away from the work and a scene can open up to you. Actually, actors say the same thing about how they get into a character they’re portraying.
I also give myself advice about writing through analytic reading. Currently I’m enamored of Richard Ford. I revere his avoidance of cliches. And humor. In my current novel-in-progress, when I find myself veering into the solemn and sad, I try to find the humor in the situation, even if — especially if — it’s dark or grotesque or outrageous.”
ERICA ABEEL is the author of five books, including the novels Conscience Point and Women Like Us, and a collection of pieces including some written for the “Hers” column in The New York Times: I’ll Call You Tomorrow and Other Lies between Men and Women. She has published articles in several major journals, including The New York Times. She’s currently working on a new novel and covering film for Filmmaker Magazine and indieWIRE.com. Abeel, a mother, lives and works in Manhattan.