Saturday, June 4, 2011

Writing Rules...

I ran across a post on a blog the other day about the plethora of writing rules out there. It was interesting, seeing rules from Kurt Vonnegut to Elmore Leonard, side by side. Writing Rules are like that well meaning aunt who always has advice for you, on how to find a husband or eating habits. In the end, it's better to go with your gut. The author of the post, Cheryl Klien, encouraged readers to pen their own writing rules. So I have given it some thought, and here are mine.

1. Let your characters be who they are, not who you want them to be.

2. Rewrite. Stories are like adolescents. They have an awkward phase before they become who they are really are. Give them a chance to change into themselves.

3. Read it, in your head, and out loud. I think reading out loud really helps me find the voice in a piece. And it sounds different out loud. It really helps polish a piece if you hear it both ways.

4. Be inquisitive. Writing is a way of life. It's a perspective that you take with you day to day as you walk around. Writers are people who notice details or truths around them. They paint the world for readers through words, and show us what we can't see.

Feel free to leave your own rules in the comments section or follow the link to post your rules at Cheryl Klien's original post.


  1. Excellent. I agree with all of them. Nice job.

  2. Good list. I really like the first one. It's easy to want to manipulate a character to be "perfect". Let them be human!

  3. Thanks Libby and Mike... I'd be interested to hear what you have as rules if you have time to write them down....