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?

Where to Find Me Online

Do you want to follow me online? Sure, why the hell not.

Well, I have a love-hate relationship with the Internet — hey, maybe I could write a blog post about that 😉 — but I’m going to do my best to be a good little writer and become part of the online community. Which is really important. Le monde est mal fait.

Facebook: I’m there under Adam Hunault. But I add friends pretty selectively, so if I don’t know you you should write me a message and tell me who you are and why you want to be my friend.

Twitter: I’m adamhunault on Twitter. It’s not my favorite but I’m trying my best. And a propos of nothing: “tweet” sounds stupid.

Blog: You’re reading it right now. Visit often! Add it to your Google Reader! Comment on stuff! Please!!! Look, I know blogs are so 1999 but I haven’t yet figured out why the wave of the future is to talk about yourself in little 140 letter snippets that are usually boring, confusing or boring-and-confusing. I’m sure any 13-year-old could explain it to me, along with why Pokemon is better than Shakespeare, but for now the concept completely eludes me. Blogs just seem better.

My secret other blog: It’s a secret but it’s awesome. I’ve been writing it for two years and just passed 200 posts. Maybe you read it already and you don’t even know it! In fact, which ever blog is your favorite, just assume I wrote it. It’s easier that way.

Post a comment! Where do you live online?

Change of Address

Hi.  This is just to let you know I have just moved this blog to this address from nickskylark.wordpress.com.

Why did I do this? Well, when I set up the Nick Skylark address, I was feeling a little paranoid about having my name attached to a blog. I mean, if the address of your blog is your own name, anybody can find it through a Google search. Your current employers, your future employers, your enemies from high school… anybody. You no longer have deniability. If you use an online pseudonym, you don’t have to worry about that. No one can find you.

Of course, the disadvantage is that no one can find you. I’m told that these days, when you’re a writer, it’s important to get working on an online persona. I have some problems with that (hey, maybe I’ll write about those later, you never know!) but the fact remains that it isn’t a bad idea to interact with your peers both online and offline. I think my reluctance to use my real name was partially because I didn’t know if I definitely wanted to connect myself to a writer persona. Submitting applications to grad schools has made me realize that, for better or worse, I’m casting my lot in that area. This is no longer just a hobby that I really, really love. It’s a career. Time to start behaving like that.

Hello, my name is Adam Hunault and I’m a writer.

God help me.