Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ten rules for writing fiction

The Guardian has published a few thoughts from people who really ought to know about how to write.
I'm not sure they are rules, as such. More like guidelines:
'The two most depressing words in the English language are "literary fiction".'
- David Hare

'Only bad writers think that their work is really good.'
- Anne Enright

'Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue.'
- Helen Dunmore

'You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you're on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine.'
- Margaret Atwood

'Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.'
-Elmore Leonard

You can read it all here.
I'm going back to my desk to deal with a few sloppy verbs.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Researched out

Scrambling to finish writing one book at present, before I embark on another (for the PhD) in a couple of weeks.
My own fault. I could have finished this one a year or more ago. Lost my way. Got bored with it. Now I'm fired up and charging through it (pardon the mixed metaphor) but not taking enough time to look back over old notes and bookmarks.
Need a stern talking to.
Slow down. Breathe. Check your notes before you spend two hours finding out all over again the key dates in the history of the Book of Common Prayer...