Writing fiction Do’s and Don’ts
We posted a link last week to an article by the Guardian titled “10 rules for writing fiction” which you can read here
Lots of authors contributed and wrote their 10 rules – some favourites of ours were:
Do back exercises. Pain is distracting – Margaret Atwood
Do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. It’s research – Roddy Doyle
Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire – Geoff Dyer
It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction – Jonathan Franzen
Laugh at your own jokes – Neil Gaiman
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 – Al Knnedy
So we asked our users what their number one rule would be – and here is a selection of replies –
- Don’t take yourself so seriously, you are playing with imaginary friends and sometimes need to be a kid yourself. Write like you’re a kid. Enjoy it.
- Write what you want to read. So that’s what I do. You should write more for yourself than for others.
- Simply – “Show don’t tell”…easy to remember too!
- Write every day
- Try not to weep all over your keyboard when one of your characters dies
- “Don’t tell me about sunbeams tell me about the silver flashing leaves” describe the effect not the item
- I don’t agree with “But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”.” Said said said drives me nuts. . I prefer grumbled, growled, whispered, etc. .
So you should now be feeling motivated and pumped to show not tell, to not take yourself seriously, and to use every different word under the sun to describe the effect of something. Go and make yourself a tea or coffee, sit at that desk and let the creativity flow out of those fingertips and onto your keyboards!