Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writing Rules, and Writing RULES!

I love lists, and I love lists of writing “rules.” Taken with a grain of salt—(as one of my teachers used to say, “The only rule in writing is to be interesting”)—such pithy advice can offer guidance, open your mind, and sometimes speak exactly to a problem of the moment.

Here’s a great two-piece article in which Elmore Leonard offers his ten rules for writing, followed by more writers riffing on that list, adding their suggestions.

Just a quick sample of the range of advice:

Roddy Doyle: “Do not place a photograph of your favorite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.”

Anne Enright: “Only bad writers think that their work is really good.”

Richard Ford: “Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement to yourself.”

(Thanks to Perpetual Folly for the link. And if these types of proscriptive lists make you crabby, you’ll be interested in the discussion over at The Elegant Variation.)


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.