Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Myths Regarding Personalized Stationery

5 Rules of Writing from 10 Authors

Elmore Leonard

Never open a book with weather.

Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”

Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

Stephen King

While to write adverbs is human, to write ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ is divine.

Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.

You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.

There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall.

Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.

Margaret Atwood

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

Hold the reader’s attention.

You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality.

Ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break up.

Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road.

Anne Enright

Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.

Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn’t matter how “real” your story is, or how “made up”: what matters is its necessity.

Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.

Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.

Henry Miller

Work on one thing at a time until finished.

Work according to the program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!

Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.

Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.

Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

Hilary Mantel

Write a book you’d like to read. Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.

If you have a good story idea, don’t assume it must form a prose narrative. It may work better as a play, a screenplay or a poem. Be flexible.

Be aware that anything that appears before “Chapter One” may be skipped. Don’t put your vital clue there.

Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change. When your character is new to a place, that’s the point to step back and fill in the details of their world.

Be ready for anything. Each new story has different demands and may throw up reasons to break these and all other rules.

Jonathan Franzen

Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.

Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.

When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.

The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention.

It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

Jack Kerouac

Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind.

Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition.

Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.

Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in your morning.

Write for the world to read and see your exact pictures of it.

A. L. Kennedy

You don’t know the limits of your own abilities. If you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life.

Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write. On you go.

Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and irritatingly as you can.

Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.

Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on.

Mark Twain

Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. Don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.

The time to begin writing is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say.

http://www.literaryrejections.com/10-rules-of-writing/

Comments