Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ten rules of writing, from twenty-nine different writers.

Via, here's a great article from The Guardian in which  prominent writers each give their rules for writing. Some favorites: 

Elmore Leonard: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." 

Margaret Atwood: "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. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page." 

Roddy Doyle: "Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy."

Helen Dunmore: "Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue."

Geoff Dyer: "Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire."

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

Richard Ford: "Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself."

Jonathan Franzen: "Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting."

Esther Freud: "Trust your reader. Not everything needs to be explained. If you really know something, and breathe life into it, they'll know it too."

Neil Gaiman: "Laugh at your own jokes." 

PD James: "Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other ­people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted."

AL Kennedy: "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."

I'll detail my favorites from "part 2" of the article in another post. 

Which ones are your favorites? 


G.M. said...

The comment by Esther Freud is the most helpful to implement.

Jenny H said...

Uh oh: Elmore Leonard says, "I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances 'full of rape and adverbs'." --JH, who can't get Blogger to recognize her.