02 August 2012


I suppose most aspiring or accomplished writers have their own guidelines, rules, and influences which inform the process.  I try to keep an open mind, all the while exercising what Hemingway called the essential quality of any writer (or person, for that matter) ~ a built-in crap detector.

With that in mind, here are novelist Colson Whitehead's Rules on writing.  I especially like #11.

  1. Show and tell.  (Or, illustrate rather than narrate)
  2. Don't go searching for a subject, let your subject come to you.
  3. Write what you know.
  4. Never use three words when one will do.
  5. Keep a dream diary.  (Profoundly excellent suggestion)
  6. What isn't said is as important as what is said.
  7. Writer's block is a tool.  Use it.
  8. Is secret.
  9. Have adventures.
  10. Revise, revise, revise.
  11. There are no rules.
What would you add to the list?  What would you remove?

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