Do you ever get confused by writing advice? We've all heard the common ones — avoid adverbs, no exclamation marks, start books with something other than the weather, et cetera, et cetera. Depending on who you talk to, opinions differ on the value of this advice.
In Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve Ben Blatt combines two of my favorite things: big data and books. The result is an analyses of bestselling fiction, literary fiction, and fan fiction to see how well authors follow the advice, and by inference how well respect the advice is among authors.
If you're interested in self-publishing, then this will give you tons to think about.
Elmore Leonard, bestselling author of 3:10 to Yuma, Last Stand at Saber River, and Get Shorty (among others), once wrote “Never open a book with weather.” Since then it's been repeated time and again in books on writing advice. But how well do the big authors do? Do they take it seriously? Blatt presents the graphic below.
You'll start to see that every rule can sometimes be broken — and sometimes it depends on what you write. We've all heard we should avoid cliches like the plague. Ben Blatt put his massive database to the test and checked for cliches.
This book is well worth the read and can be downloaded for Kindle. To buy go here.