a bit of writerly advice

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Give a monkey a monkey bar.

David L. Robbins, novelist, educator, playwright, essayist

No, I’m not talking about the zoo–unless that zoo is the wonderful world of novel manuscript revision (did my sarcasm shine through there?).

Rust Belt Girl followers know I’m currently reworking my historical novel, chapter by painstaking chapter. And, as with most things, I’m not doing it alone.

Robbins–quoted above–taught a historical novel-writing course as part of my grad program, way back when, when the first little seed of my novel was planted.

His advice is evergreen. To me, “give a monkey a monkey bar” means to give a character something to showcase what he or she can do. Phone calls and meandering strolls don’t let a character prove their worth–unless he suddenly realizes he’s lost his voice or she breaks a leg.

Today, I’ve dumped a scene where I had two guys sitting in a bar exchanging information in favor of a steep trek into the clouds of the Marin Highlands where a WWII battery fortification is being constructed. We’ll see if the scene goes or stays.

But advice is always welcome.

What’s your best writing advice?