Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

Ever wish you could ask an author exactly what they did to get where they are? Well, here's your chance to hear what they have to say. The Guardian, a UK newspaper, asked authors like Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood to come up with ten rules that every aspiring author should follow to write successfully. Although the article's focus is on fiction writers, that doesn't mean that the rules don't apply to any other type of writing!

My rules for writing are:

1. No internet while writing. Facebook is way too tempting!
2. Have a relaxing spot to sit in, but don't let it be in front of the TV.
3. When writing fiction, remember that the most important part of your story is the characters. Even if you have the best plot or the best writing, it won't matter if the characters are flat and lifeless.
4. When writing any kind of non-fiction, remember who your audience is. Your tone of voice is everything.
5. Edit after you've finished your first draft. Then read it aloud, edit, have someone else read it, edit again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every sentence, no matter how good, can still be written better.
6. Write in a journal, everyday if you can. You might find yourself writing things you never thought you would, with beautiful phrasing.
7. Write when you feel inspired, and write even when you don't.
8. Write.
9. Write some more.
10. I'm being serious! Writing well is the most important skill you will ever learn. Even if you don't think you're going to use it often. Having the ability to write well gives you the ability to speak coherently and professionally and to know how to read other people when in conversation (re: audience).

Do you agree or disagree with my or any other of the authors rules? What are your rules for writing?

1 comment:

Roosevelt University Writing Center said...

Excellent list! Number one is definitely the most difficult obstacle for me -- whether working on a paper or grocey list, if an internet window is open, I'm distracted!

However, I'd probably would swap #5 and #2. I can write in front of the TV (as long as it is off) and I think proofreading is just about the most important tool for any writer.