Writing Tip Wednesday: Rules For Writing Fiction.

For this week’s Writing Tip Wednesday I would like to direct you to THIS article on The Gaurdian website that gives you some great rules for writing fiction. Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James and AL Kennedy all give you their top rules for writing fiction.

My top ten from their top ten would be:

1. Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea. – Richard Ford.

2.Write. – Neil Gaiman.

3. Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear). – Diana Athill.

4. You can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You’ve been backstage. You’ve seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a ­romantic relationship, unless you want to break up. – Margaret Atwood.

5. Cut (perhaps that should be CUT): only by having no ­inessential words can every essential word be made to count. – Diana Athill.

6. Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue. – Helen Dunmore.

7. Do it every day. Make a habit of putting your observations into words and gradually this will become instinct. This is the most important rule of all and, naturally, I don’t follow it. – Geoff Dyer.

8. Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess. – Esther Freud.

9. Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell. – PD James.

10. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter. – Neil Gaiman.

Be sure to read the article for more writing tips and then come back and tell me what your favourite is. I would love to hear from you 🙂


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