Monday, October 22, 2012

There's No Crying in Writing

By Julie Daines

I'm sharing just a quick writing tip today that I got from award winning author Martine Leavitt.

She states that one of the rules of writing for MG and YA is that your main character can only cry once in the whole manuscript. Maybe twice--if the situation really warrants it.

Why? Tears are like swear words in writing, less is more. Tears tend to jump out of the page and draw excess attention to themselves. It only takes one or two well placed shedding of tears to punctuate the story, any more and it starts to feel like an overused physical cliche.

I've been reading a lot of YA books this fall, and I've seen a lot of weepy main characters. I've come to the conclusion that I agree with Martine.

So before your main character swipes at her eyes, dashes away salty drops, buries her head in her pillow and weeps, or collapses on the floor in sobs, make sure you've carefully chosen the one exact moment when those tears will mean the most.

Any other quick tips you can think of?

See my post on Fall, Shakespeare, Life and Death at

1 comment:

Yamile said...

I totally agree! I have a hard time when the MC cries a lot too. Sometimes crying is a cliche, or the author telling us how to feel.