Archive for the ‘Rules for Writers’ Category

I blogged a couple weeks ago about “Rules for Writers.” This was a list I came up with on my lunch break, and it got to be 30+ points, and I felt like I could go further! Last time I only got up to number 2 (rather, 2c…), so I’m going to start with number three. Like last time, I’ll give my current thoughts on the rule, whether I still agree with it or not. This first one is kinda crazy…

3. Read at least 10,000 words for every 1,000 words you write.

[This one may seem a bit extreme, but it isn’t, really. Most regular readers can read 10,000 in an hour (or even less), and if you are a writer, reading is probably one of your main forms of entertainment anyway. 10,000 seemed a good number, because it is ten times one thousand, the recommended quota by many writers. The point is to be a writer, you have to a reader first…and a voracious one at that.]

3a. Rarely trust an adverb – they have betrayed many-a-writer, to their doom.

[Never mind that this rule starts with an adverb. Let’s just pretend that was intentional. But I still agree with this one. Adverbs have a way of sneaking in. I struggle with them all the time. I always think they will do a good job of explaining what I want to convey. But they betray me, 99 percent of the time. Stephen King said something on the order of the road to hell being paved with adverbs. I couldn’t agree more. This is still a point of improvement for me. Someday…

4. Never waste a word.

[As a writer, every word counts. Nothing is frivolous. Maybe one unneeded word here and there won’t make much a difference…but too many and the plot bogs down. It’s like a runner taking on extra ounces.When ounces become pounds, the runner moves more slowly. With too many extra words, the plot slows to a halt, and the reader will put down your book.]

5. Close your door, turn off your phone, disconnect the Internet, and keep your work space clutter free. There should be nothing in your vicinity to distract you.

[Writing is an exercise of focus. Without focus, everything falls apart. It is impossible for me to write well when I surf the Internet every two minutes, or answer a text, or whatever. We write our best when we have a block of time where writing is all we do.]

Well, those are the next few rules. I will go through the rest of the list some time later!

Oh, somewhat of an update: about 13 bloggers have responded to queries about Night of the Necromancer, which is VERY cool. The first spotlight/interview appeared yesterday here. In addition, there are a couple of interviews/giveaway scheduled, which is also very cool.

One day about two months ago, I was sitting during my lunch break and got the idea to write a list of “rules” that a writer should live by. I came up with about forty (really 31 rules, but some had sub-rules). Really it was just another expression of my nerdiness in trying to quantify/describe something. Here are some of them, and in brackets what I now think of them a couple months down the road:

1. Write every single day, no exceptions.

[I still believe this is true, though ONE exception might be made – if you are editing a book you have finished, this counts as writing. I think it is still important to create new content, like a blog post.]

2. Write at least 1,000 words per day, even if you have to bleed for them.

[This is Stephen King’s and many other writers’ adage. I think it is a great rule. Granted you do a thousand words or more every day, you can be done with the first draft of most novels in two to three months. Novellas are even shorter, from a month to a month and a half. You can do a short story a week, counting editing and everything else.]

2a. Don’t wait to become inspired. Just become inspired.

[I still think this is VERY true. I’m not really a believer in any sort of mysticism, even if art seems to have a mystical quality to it. I think the idea that inspiration drops out of the ether takes credit away from the ingenuity of humans. I think we are all capable of amazing things…a lot of it is believing that we can do those things.]

2b. Some days you won’t want to write. Maybe most days. Write anyway.

[Like above, still very true. Sometimes, writing is a job. But as far as jobs go, it is pretty fun.]

2c. The Muse is a flighty thing; don’t wait for hours for her to arrive, like a pretty girl not arriving on time for a date (if at all). The Muse keeps her own schedule you are not privy to, and besides, you have writing to do. When she comes, do not dismiss her; let her guide you for her powers are far beyond that of you, a mere mortal.

[I still like the analogy of the Muse being a pretty girl who may or may not show up for a date. I think the Muse is a mysterious thing – some days she likes you, some days she could care less, some days you are own your own. But when she does decide to show up, amazing things happen. It’s not really our place as writers to question where she has been, or why she is not spending more time with you – it is just to be grateful for her company, because the Muse is always out of your league. Have a set time you write every day, so the Muse knows where to find you. Nothing is more annoying than the Muse showing up at an inopportune time when you are far from desk, notepad, and pen (though she will always do so anyway just to mess with you As a side note, I think the wording is kinda silly toward the end, but I may have just been feeling silly that day.]

Maybe I’ll add some more of the things I came up in a future post. After all there is still 30 or so of them.

Since this is getting a little long, I think it’s time to go. I have an interview this morning. It should go well, but wish me luck, ladies and gents!