Rules for Writing

A few weeks ago the British newspaper The Guardian printed "Ten Rules for Writing Fiction" ([1] and [2]), guidelines and thoughts from a variety of authors. Some are tongue-in-cheek serious ("Never open a book with weather." - Elmore Leonard), some are literary-enriching ("Learn poems by heart" - Helen Dunmore; "Keep a diary" - Geoff Dyer), some are practical ("Try to be accurate about stuff" - Anne Enright; "Don't drink and write at the same time" - Richard Ford; "Always carry a notebook" - Will Self), and some are self-referential ("My main rule is to say no to things like this, which tempt me away from my proper work." - Philip Pullman). The best of all is Neal Gaiman's:

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.

(cf. DearDiary (2001-03-19), ByHeart (2001-11-28), Memorizing Poems (2009-04-05), ...) - ^z - 2010-03-07