Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writing tips. And more writing tips...

A while back I wrote a post about Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. I also wrote a piece on How Not to Write About Sex.

For those still looking for more rules (how to and how not to), here are some more splendid writing tips from the Guardian from the likes of Richard Ford, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Anne Enright and more--because, seriously, who can get enough rules for writing?

Especially if one is avoiding writing by studying the rules for writing--and neglecting the first rule: just do it (apologies for the Nike tie-in).

Margaret Atwood on plot

Don't sit down in the middle of the woods. If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.

Anne Enright on persistence

The first 12 years are the worst.

Richard Ford on the writing life

Don't have children.

Jonathan Franzen on the Web

It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.

Zadie Smith on revision

When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

Jeannette Winterson on ambition

Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.

Neil Gaman on readers' critiques

Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

These aren't the best excerpts. In fact, Anne Enright's are worth executing in their entirety. "Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn't matter how "real" your story is, or how "made up": what matters is its necessity."

And, as a final tip, be assured that you'll be able to return to this blog for more wrting tips. And even more tips after those.

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