Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rules of Engagement

There was a great article in The Guardian with a gaggle of writers offering their 10 rules for writing:

These would be the UW's 10 favorites:

Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose". This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points. - Elmore Leonard

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

Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer's a good idea. - Richard Ford

It's doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction. - Jonathan Franzen

Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down. - Neil Gaiman

The two most depressing words in the English language are "literary fiction". - David Hare

Proceed slowly and take care. - Annie Proulx

Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst. - Joyce Carol Oates

Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied. - Zadie Smith

The first 12 years are the worst. - Anne Enright


Totsymae said...

Nice quotes. They're giving us some tough love, I'll say.

Annie Boreson said...

I have to say my favorite is the Margaret Atwood quote, "You chose it, so don't whine." Simple and to the point, just like her wonderful prose.

I wish I was more of a Jonathan Frazen fan. I used to be, but I've lost the love. Maybe it will return. Until then, I'll try to keep my whining to a minimum.