Rules for writing fiction

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I’ve always loved and enjoyed fiction—both reading and writing it—and said that reading fiction is essential to make one a well-rounded invdividual. It lets you see things from perspectives you never thought you could, much more so than non-fiction can ever hope to. Back in 2010 The Guardian published “Ten rules for writing fiction” which I’d saved to my reading list and happened to stumble upon today—the many joys of an untended reading list I suppose. Some of my favourites:

  • Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue
  • Keep your exclamation points under control
  • Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”
  • Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly
  • Hold the reader's attention
  • Keep a thesauraus
  • Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue
  • Keep a diary
  • Before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing
  • Don’t look back until you’ve written an entire draft
  • Don’t wait for inspiration. Discipline is the key.

And some things I do not agree with:

  • Don’t go into great detail describing places and things
  • Avoid detailed descriptions of characters
  • Avoid prologues
  • Never open a book with weather
  • Avoid cliques, gangs, groups

And of course there’s Neil Gaiman’s advice: “Write”.

This is a note, a brief thought or reflection recorded for being meaningful or for sharing things of interest. Longer writings are in the essays section.