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Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

awnlee jawking

Some of these are unintentionally funny:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-two

AJ

Remus2

Some of them appear to be intentional attempts at being funny.
In my opinion, there are several good bits to keep in mind, particularly the following;

Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

I've put down more than one book due to that. Scene painting with words, is an exceptionally rare skill. Conversely, all the flowery scenes in the world do not a plot make.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Remus2

Don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

I've put down more than one book due to that. Scene painting with words, is an exceptionally rare skill. Conversely, all the flowery scenes in the world do not a plot make.

While that's a sensible caution, it's hardly a 'rule'. There's no reason not to try your hand at it, otherwise you'll never know whether you're any good at it or not. However, you shouldn't base your entire plot around frequent descriptive excesses.

Basically, say what you need to, only keep what works, and then move on.

In my own case, I see one author (or 'writing expert') after other warn you to never include more than four characters, to always use 5th grade language, and to keep plots short, fast moving and devoid of details. Yet, if I'd followed that advice, I'd never have realized I'm actually fairly good with large-person, interactive dialogues, and it's now a key part of my writing style.

It's more about 'take your time and learn what you're good at', and once you've determined your limitations, focus on your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses. If you need those flagging skills, then pay for a damn course or two!). :)

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2

@Crumbly Writer

While that's a sensible caution, it's hardly a 'rule'. There's no reason not to try your hand at it, otherwise you'll never know whether you're any good at it or not.

You'll note I didn't say it couldn't be done, only that it's an exceptionally rare skill. It doesn't matter what you're doing, you'll never know how good you are if you never try.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

You'll note I didn't say it couldn't be done, only that it's an exceptionally rare skill. It doesn't matter what you're doing, you'll never know how good you are if you never try.

And of course, a necessary component of 'trying' a technique is vetting (i.e. posting it) so you can determine whether readers find it beneficial or difficult to decipher (if you get complements on it, you can assume you're doing it right. If no one comments, assume you're barely adequate. 'D But a necessary component, for any new author, is getting your work in front of readers so they can tell you what works, and which techniques are problematic (i.e. which you're good at, and which areas need work).

Crumbly Writer

Just saw this online today (from a Dutch bookstore), and thought you'd all enjoy it:

How to Write Good

1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid cliches like the plague. They'd old hat.

4. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

5. Be more or less specific.

6. Writers should never generalize.

Seven: Be consistent!

8. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

9. Who needs rhetorical questions?

10. Exaggerations is a billion times worse than understatement.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

LOL
I did. Thanks.

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