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Ten rules for writing fiction (Read 498 times)
Webbie
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Ten rules for writing fiction
Feb 28th, 2010, 8:06am
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-o...


Ten rules for writing fiction

Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, we asked authors for their personal dos and don'ts

Elmore Leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin

1 Never open a book with weather. If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2 Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday, but it's OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: "I like a lot of talk in a book and I don't like to have nobody tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks."

3 Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.


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Gary A. Markette
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Re: Ten rules for writing fiction
Reply #1 - Mar 1st, 2010, 12:24am
 
"Delightful," the editor gushed.

Thanks, webbie!
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Webbie
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Re: Ten rules for writing fiction
Reply #2 - Mar 2nd, 2010, 5:43am
 
Gary A. Markette wrote on Mar 1st, 2010, 12:24am:
"Delightful," the editor gushed.

Thanks, webbie!

Smiley
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