Ten Rules of Writing

This is old but I just came across it and it seems really cool: It is an article from The Guardian about the ten rules of writing, submitted by Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Richard Ford, Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Franzen.

I read just a little bit of the article — enough to know there’s some clever stuff — because I wanted to try to make my own ten rules of writing. Here goes.

1) Write every day, even if it’s only a paragraph.

2) The best time to write is the morning. The second best time is at your lunch hour. The third is after dinner. The fourth is late at night. The worst is not at all.

3) Enter the scene late, leave the scene early.

4) If you’ve used a colon, semi-colon, dash, exclamation point, ellipse or the word “and,” stop and ask yourself if you should have used a period. If you’ve used a comma you probably don’t need it.

5) Don’t let your subtext become text.

6) In dialogue you can always cut “hello,” “goodbye,” “well,” “sure,” okay,” “the thing is,” “that’s right,” “exactly,” any word more than two syllables or any sentence fragment followed by a longer sentence.

7) Vary your sentence length and structure.

8 ) The reader doesn’t have to like your characters as long as he can’t ignore them.

9) The key to realism is one good detail.

10) Blogging is not writing.

There you have it. I’m pretty happy with my list. What’s yours?

One thought on “Ten Rules of Writing

  1. I sooooo disagree with #10. But then again, I would.

    Seriously, though, at best, blog posts can end up being wonderful creative non-fiction pieces. At worst, they can be a great warm-up before you start writing whatever big project you’re working on. Either way, blogs can be really valuable to the writing process if they become a regular part of your routine.

    The rest of your list, though – spot on!

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